Country Listing

Comoros Table of Contents


Transportation and Communications

The relative isolation of the Comoro Islands had made air traffic a major means of transportation. One of President Abdallah's accomplishments was to make Comoros more accessible by air. During his administration, he negotiated agreements to initiate or enhance commercial air links with Tanzania and Madagascar. The Djohar regime reached an agreement in 1990 to link Moroni and Brussels by air. By the early 1990s, commercial flights connected Comoros with France, Mauritius, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Madagascar. The national airline was Air Comores. Daily flights linked the three main islands, and air service was also available to Mahoré; each island had airstrips. In 1986 the republic received a grant from the French government's CCCE to renovate and expand Hahaya airport, near Moroni. Because of the absence of regularly scheduled sea transport between the islands, nearly all interisland passenger traffic is by air.

More than 99 percent of freight is transported by sea. Both Moroni on Njazidja and Mutsamudu on Nzwani have artificial harbors. There is also a harbor at Fomboni, on Mwali. Despite extensive internationally financed programs to upgrade the harbors at Moroni and Mutsamudu, by the early 1990s only Mutsamudu was operational as a deepwater facility. Its harbor could accommodate vessels of up to eleven meters' draught. At Moroni, ocean-going vessels typically lie offshore and are loaded or unloaded by smaller craft, a costly and sometimes dangerous procedure. Most freight continues to be sent to Kenya, Reunion, or Madagascar for transshipment to Comoros. Use of Comoran ports is further restricted by the threat of cyclones from December through March. The privately operated Comoran Navigation Company (Société Comorienne de Navigation) is based in Moroni, and provides services to Madagascar. )

Roads serve the coastal areas, rather than the interior, and the mountainous terrain makes surface travel difficult. In 1987 the total length of roads in Comoros was about 750 kilometers, including both paved and dirt roads.

In large part thanks to international aid programs, Moroni has international telecommunications service. Telephone service, however, is largely limited to the islands' few towns. Some 3,000 telephones were in use in 1991.

Data as of August 1994