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World Travel Guide > Guides > Africa > Comoros

Comoros: Doing business and staying in touch

Doing Business in Comoros

Lightweight suit or shirt and tie required. Business is conducted in French or Arabic; English is seldom spoken.

Office Hours

Mon-Thurs 0730-1430, Fri 0730-1130, Sat 0730-1200.

Economy

The bulk of the working population is employed in agriculture, which produces vanilla and cloves (the main exports), basil, ylang-ylang (an essence extracted from trees) and copra. There is a small fishing industry and a minimal industrial base devoted mainly to processing vanilla.

The tourism industry has grown rapidly during the last 10 years to the extent that the service sector as a whole now accounts for almost 60% of total domestic output: chronic political instability on the islands has, however, probably prevented the industry from reaching its full potential. Moreover, the agricultural economy is vulnerable to low world commodity prices.

Substantial French aid remains essential. France is also the country's major trading partner, providing almost half of the Comoros' imports and taking two-thirds of its exports. China, Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar are the other major importers into the islands.

Per capita income is estimated at US$720. The economy grew slowly at 1.3% in 2005.

GDP

US$394.4 million (2005).

Main exports

Vanilla, cloves, ylang-ylang (perfume oil) and copra.

Main imports

Rice and petroleum products.

Main trading partners

Exports to: France, USA, Singapore and Germany; Imports from: France, South Africa, Japan<, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and China.

Keeping in Touch in Comoros

Telephone

Outgoing international calls must be made through the international operator.

Mobile Phone

Limited coverage.

Internet

A few hotels have Internet access.

Media

There is no single national newspaper. Although several private newspapers criticise the government, self-censorship is reportedly common. Local radio and TV stations operate without overt government interference. The main (weekly) papers are Al Watwan (state-owned), published on Grand Comore, Kuesi, published on the French island of Mayotte, and La Gazette des Comores (independent); L'Archipel (independent) is published monthly. There are no English-language newspapers. There is a national radio station, Radio Comoros, and a national TV service. RFO Mayotte, run by French public radio and TV, broadcasts French and locally-produced radio and TV programmes from the French island of Mayotte, and can be received in parts of the archipelago.

Post

Mail to Western Europe takes at least one week.