Country Profiles:

Comoros is an archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel off the eastern coast of the continent between northeastern Mozambique and northwestern Madagascar. Other countries near the Comoros are Tanzania to the northwest and the Seychelles to the northeast. The islands emerged from the floor of the Indian Ocean as a result of volcanic activity.  The name Comore is Arabic word for Moon, hence the name Moon Island. Its capital is Moroni, which means the heart of fire due to its proximity to the volcano on Grande Comore. There are four main islands commonly known by their French names: northwestern-most Grande Comore (Ngazidja); Mohéli (Mwali); and Anjouan (Nzwani). The fourth island of the Comorian archipelago, Mayotte, is claimed by the country of Comoros but administered by France. Mayotte voted against independence from France in 1974, as a result has never been administered by an independent Comoros government. In addition, Mayotte became an overseas department and a region of France in 2011 following a referendum passed overwhelmingly. Grande Comore is the largest and loftiest island. It rises near its southern end in an active volcano, Mount Karthala, which, at 7,746 feet (2,361 metres), is the country’s highest point. Karthala has erupted more than a dozen times in the past two centuries.

Since gaining independence from France on July 6th 1975 the country has experienced more than 20 coups or attempted coups which lead to the assassination's of many heads of states.

The current president, Azali Assoumani, a former coup leader was declared winner of the May 2016 presidential election after violence and vote irregularities forced a partial re-run of the poll.

The volcanic islands of the Comorian archipelago have very limited natural resources. However, the island has been called the “perfumed islands” for their fragrant plant life also known for their great scenic beauty. The aromatic plants such as frangipani (Plumeria), jasmine, and lemongrass lend a delightful fragrance to the islands. Few manufacturing plants exist and are generally limited to the processing of agricultural products – such as vanilla, essential oils, cloves, and copra for exports. Although most food products are imported. There are also sawmills and woodworking establishments. Since Comoros is made up of islands, fishing is a significant part of the market economy. However, its potential has yet to be fully realized as the industry exists only on a small scale.

The islanders reflect a diversity of origins. Malay immigrants and Arab and Persian traders have mixed with peoples from Madagascar and with various African peoples. Most of the islands’ inhabitants speak island-specific varieties of Comorian (Shikomoro), a Bantu language related to Swahili and written in Arabic script. The Union of the Comoros has three official languages – Comorian, Arabic and French.

Comoros cuisine is a fusion of African, French and Arabs.

Languste a la Vanille giant lobster boiled in a rich vanilla sause; Ambrevades au Curry; Mkatra Foutra; Pilaou.

Zanzibar’s taarab music, however, remains the most influential genre on the islands, and a Comorian version called twarab is popular. Leading twarab bands include Sambeco and Belle Lumière, as well as singers including Chamsia Sagaf and Mohammed Hassan.

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