- The economy of Comoros is still growing at a slower rate than its population, new statistics show. Despite massive development aid, the situation will remain negative in 2010.
This sober economic outlook was presented today by a mission by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that has visited Comoros during the last two weeks.
Comoros, an impoverished Indian Ocean archipelago that has experienced chronic instability since independence, still has a high population growth, currently estimated at 2.38 percent annually. In most years since independence, The Comoran economy has grown at a slower rate than population. But with a 2001 peace and power-sharing deal, analysts agreed Comoros should finally live up to its economic growth potentials.
According to IMF mission leader Mbuyamu Matungulu, however, new statistics provided by the government in Moroni showed that growth is still far below the African average.
In 2009, "economic growth is estimated to have slightly increased to 1.8 percent, from 1.0 percent in 2008," according to Mr Matungulu. And for 2010, GDP growth was "likely to reach 2 percent," he added. This means the growing Comoran population will continue to get poorer this year.
The forecast comes despite the recent announcement of record development aid pledges from the Arab League. In March, the archipelago secured aid worth US$ 540 million from Arab states and institutions. Although the IMF was aware of these pledges, its analysts only count on a minimum growth in Comoros in 2010.
Growth rates have been anything else than impressing since the 2001 power-sharing deal in Comoros. Only in 2001, 2002 and 2005, economic growth was higher than population growth, recording 4.23 percent in 2005.
Mr Matungulu nevertheless praised Comoran authorities for "encouraging" progress in reforming the economy. Inflation was brought under control, the external current account deficit was narrowed and international reserves were increasing.
But despite praiseworthy financial policies, economic growth just will not come to the archipelago. The reason is a lack of domestic and foreign investors, not trusting the political situation in Comoros. The island state is again heading towards a political crisis as President Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi has extended his presidential term, contrary to the 2001 agreement.
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