Comoros continue to face inequality challenges, says World Bank

15 Jun 18

Inequality continues to be a challenge to the island nation state of Comoros, despite improved living conditions and lower poverty levels, the World Bank has concluded.

Living standards have improved, while poverty levels have fallen by over 10% since 2004 in both rural and urban areas, but the bank said there was uncertainty regarding the sustainability of the progress.

There are still wide income and opportunity inequalities within the country, with people in urban areas enjoying advantages and better access to services compared to those in rural areas.

Nadia Belhaj Hassine Belghith, senior economist and co-author of the report, said: “The main challenge to be tackled in this regard is sustaining the progress made in recent years.

“The Comoros is grappling with myriad macroeconomic and fiscal challenges that may exacerbate fiscal pressures and jeopardise the government’s ability to provide social services.”

Resources are limited due to the “unpredictability of non-tax revenues” and public expenditure, she said.

The African country has a number of development policies in place designed to scale up education and health expenditure. These have helped improve living conditions and human development, the report noted.

But World Bank called on the country’s government to do more to sustain progress. In particular, it should focus on productive employment, promote a diverse and competitive economy and exploit funds coming into the country through remittance transfers – money sent back by emigrants.

Remittances account for around 25% of GDP in the Comoros, the bank said.

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