Comoros' Biggest Companies

The Comoros is an island nation with a small, but culturally diverse population that lives at a high density in what is one of the world's smallest countries. The Comoros officially consist of the archipelago of three islands that are governed by the Union of Comoros together with the island of Mayotte, which is still under French administration. The Comoros have been colonized by the Arabic world as well as by Europeans, but the three islands that make up the Union of the Comoros gained their independence in 1975.

The islands lack of natural resources paired with the inadequate infrastructure has left the Comoros as one of the least developed countries in the world. It was not helped by the domination of its economy by plantation companies such as Societe Bambao, Etablissements Grimaldi, Kalfane and Company and Etablissements Abdallah et Fils that exported cash crops from the islands and then took their profits overseas. The Comoros is ranked as 159th out of the 183 countries in the World Bank's Doing Business list.

The Comoros is an underdeveloped nation which lacks the infrastructure desired by most large companies, and which is particularly important for businesses that wish to operate on an international or global scale. There is also a lot of poverty in the Comeros, with approximately half of the population considered to be living below the poverty line. The unemployment rate is currently high, at about 14.3 percent. The GDP of the Comoros is approximately 557 million US dollars, with a per capita GDP of 820 US dollars. The main priorities for the government are the growth of the economy and the reduction of poverty.

The most important sector of the economy is agriculture, along with forestry, hunting and fishing. The dense population which inhabits the rural areas poses a serious problem for the future of agriculture in this country. However, 80 percent of the workforce currently works in agriculture, and it produces 40 percent of the country's GDP and 95 percent of its exports. Two of the most important products of the agricultural sector in the Comoros are vanilla and ylang-ylang, both of which are exported as cash crops. The Comoros is the largest producer of the perfume essence ylang-ylang in the world and the second largest producer of vanilla. Cloves and copra are also exported, but the Comoros also have to import many items, including food products such as the main staple rice as well as petroleum products and consumer goods.

The service industry is also very important in the Comoros. Although it employs fewer people, it does contribute approximately 56 percent of the GDP, while industry only represents 4 percent.

The government hopes to upgrade the infrastructure and to provide better education and training. It intends to privatize industry, to promote tourism and to diversify the economy. A goal of annual GDP growth of 4 percent has been set. Current growth is approximately 2 percent.

The Comoros have their own domestic airline, Comores Air Services, which has two planes used for the transportation of people and goods between all four of the islands.

The Central Bank of the Comoros another important company in the Comoros, which has links with the Banque de France.

The large foreign companies which once dominated the preparation of cash crops such as ylang-ylang and vanilla for export have now gone, and any preparation of the raw materials now tends to be done on a very small scale, by the farmers who produce the crops.

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