|The Courier N° 130 Nov - Dec 1991 - Dossier: Oil - Reports: Kenya - The Comoros (EC Courier, 1991, 96 p.)|
|The Comoros - In dire economic straits|
External aid (bilateral and multilateral) varies between $45-50 million p.a. - i.e. CF 15 000 million, with a State budget of CF 11 000 million.
The main funders are: - France: FF 70 million for 1991 - the UN and the EDF, with disbursals for 1991 as follows in $ million.
These figures, expressed in US dollars, reflect:
- stable assistance from the OECD countries and multilateral organisations, with $45-55 million p.a. over the past five years, a level reached gradually after 1976-79, when commitments were low;
- large contributions from organisations in the Arab countries in 1980-82, in clear contrast with the dwindling commitments from 1984 onwards and disbursals from 1987 onwards.
Disbursals (in $ million)
The other countries (China and the USSR), which are not included here, cooperated in clearly identified sectors so the real figures are actually slightly larger than those given.
Comoros-EEC cooperation in figures (in millions of ECU)
The assistance was provided in the form of concessional loans. Repayments were met in many cases, but arrears have mounted since 1986. In terms of principal, debts owed on disbursals on 31 December 1989 were CF 51.7 billion (induding Frances reduction) - 33.2 billion to multilateral partners (3.9 billion to IBRD-IDA, 5.9 billion to the ADF-ADB, 2.9 billion to the Islamic Development Bank, 1.4 billion to the OPEC Fund and 0.6 billion to IFAD) and 18.1 billion to bilateral partners (7.4 billion to Kuwait, 6.8 billion to Saudi Arabia, 1.6 billion to China, 1.3 billion to France, 0.7 billion to Belgium and 0.3 billion to Abu Dhabi). At the exchange rates of the day, this makes $185.8 million or $380 per head of the population.
By the end of 1990, arrears had exceeded CF 11.5 billion and repayments for 1991 (principal plus interest) came to something like CF 2.88 billion.
The Comoros is therefore in the very delicate position of having to ask its funders for both sustained assistance with its economic overhaul and help with clearing the debts incurred for investments which did not have the desired effects. It will take proper management of a balanced external debt with bearable repayments to keep the public finance rationalisation drive going and make an efficient job of handling any further assistance.