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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved the Comoros’ Country Strategy Paper 2016-2020, designed to enable the country achieve diversified job-creating economic growth and to increase resilience to external shocks.
Comprising three main islands covering a 1,862-kilometre area with an aggregate 781,000 people in 2015, the Union of the Comoros gained independence in 1975. It went through several secessionist crises, the most recent dating back to 2008. However, following a peace agreement and the adoption of a new constitution built on the autonomy of the islands and the rotating presidency in 2001, the country returned to relative political stability, and achieved remarkable progress with its Gross National Income (GNI) per capita rising from US $400 in 2002 to US $820 in 2014.
Despite this positive trend, the country still faces serious challenges mostly related to its narrow economic base, marked by poor economic diversification and vulnerability to external shocks, as well as endemic poverty, persistent food insecurity and malnutrition.
With a poverty rate of 45.6% and a sustainable Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.488, the country was ranked 159th out of 187 countries in 2014. The rate of unemployment among the youth, and especially among women, remains very high, standing at 50% for young graduates.
The CSP, approved by AfDB’s Board in Abidjan on Wednesday, April 6, supports and reinforces the Country’s Accelerated Growth and Sustainable Development Strategy (SCA2D, 2015-2019), which focuses on “inclusive job-generating growth” through the development of growth-supporting infrastructure, building governance, and institutional and human capacities.
The CSP is anchored on one single pillar: “Developing basic energy infrastructure to support economic diversification,” and will rely on the private sector to drive investment in energy and road infrastructure as well as improvement of sector governance that promotes an attractive business environment.
The CSP includes a US $66.35 (UA 40 million) indicative lending programme for the first three years with resources from the 13th and 14th replenishment of the African Development Fund (ADF).
It also provides for policy advice by the Bank to the government and strengthening of the technical assistance programme in highly specialised technical fields, reinforcement of the local jobs content in project design, and the promotion of South-South cooperation. The CSP is underpinned by a series of analytical notes.
Anchored on key cross-cutting issues such as green and inclusive growth and gender equality, the CSP is consistent with the Bank Group’s Ten-Year Strategy 2013-2022, its “High-5s” strategic priorities and other relevant Bank strategies and policies as well as the achievement of Comoros’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
In approving the CSP, Board members encouraged the intensification of the Bank’s catalytic role in mobilising additional resources to support and accelerate development efforts in the Comoros.