(pronounced "ah-zah-LEE ah-soo-MAH-nee")
"I have seized power to save the Comoros from falling into chaos and anarchy."
Located in the Indian Ocean between Mozambique and the northwest coast of Madagascar, the Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros is a chain of three small volcanic islands covering a total area of 2,170 sq km (835 sq mi). The population of the Comoros was estimated at 614,382 in 2002, with over half the people living on the main island, Grand Comore, where the capital city of Moroni is located. In addition to Grand Comore, the Comoros are comprised of Anjouan and Mohéli. Since 1977, the islands have also been referred to locally by the Swahili names Njazidja (Grand Comore), Nzwani (Anjouan), and Mwali (Mohéli).
Arabs who settled on the islands brought Islam to the Comoran culture. A majority (98%) of Comorans are Sunni Muslim. The linguistic heritage of the Arabs can also be felt in the Comoros where Arabic, along with French and Comoran (a mixture of Arabic and Swahili), are the national languages.
The currency is the Comoros franc . Known as the "perfume islands," the Comoros grew famous for their exports of perfume essences, as well as vanilla and cloves. Comoran farmers also produce cassava (tapioca), coconuts, coffee, copra, and bananas. Major imports include meat, rice, and petroleum products. Despite their strategic location in the Mozambique Channel, none of the islands has been able to develop a viable economy, leaving the Comoran people among the poorest in the world. Per capita gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at US $710 in 2001.
Born around 1959, a native of Grande-Comore, Azali Assoumani received his military training in Morocco and France. He was the army chief-of-staff under presidents Djohar and Taki. While little has been written about Azali, he has the reputation for being authoritarian and a blunt administrator.
Beit Salaam Presidential Palace
Boite Postale 421
Web site: http://www.presidence-uniondescomores.com