The Union of the Comoros (UoC) is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean comprising three islands: Grande Comore, Anjouan and Mohéli (a fourth island, Mayotte, remained French upon independence in 1975). Situated to the north-west of Madagascar, it covers 1,861 km2. It has a very high average population density of 320 inhabitants/km2, and its Human Development Index rating puts it among the least developed countries in the world.
The Comoros is faced with insufficient agricultural resources and endemic unemployment among the younger generation. Its public institutions are still fragile after a decade of political instability. The country’s three main challenges are to:
Since the 1st European Development Fund (EDF) in 1958, the main areas of cooperation between the European Union and the Comoros have involved infrastructure and communications, the development of agriculture and fishing, micro-projects and support of the social sectors.
Under the 10th EDF, the EU is supporting the Comoros’ development strategy defined in the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Document (GPRSD), identifying ways of enabling the country to consolidate its foundations for sustainable development. With an envelope of €48.1 million, the EU is concentrating its assistance on two priority areas for 2008-13:
This programme will be complemented by support for improving governance and the country’s institutional capacities, following on from the decentralised cooperation programme initiated under the 9th EDF, in tandem with support from other providers (France, UN Development Fund, World Bank).