With Comoros assuming chairmanship of the African Union in 2023, there is a unique opportunity to bring the innovations being developed for these islands to scale across the continent. Comoros has responded to its challenges by developing solutions that can be scaled toward structural economic transformation and long-term resilience to current and future shocks, and critically build local sustainability to reduce dependency. These approaches are critical to implement across the Africa, as the continent is utilizing the land and cultural resources to develop agricultural and economic vitality to address its challenges.
The development approach in Comoros is anchored on agency – empowering communities to maximize the value of their assets to fight poverty, create wealth, and push back on the rigors of the climate emergency. For example, data-driven climate systems to improve decision-making for smallholder farmers, primarily women, who can better plan for extreme weather events and make critical investments. To advance water security, targeted investments for sustainable water harvesting is in the process of advancing drinking water from 15 percent to 60 percent of the islands’ inhabitants, with support from the GCF. Additionally, agricultural productivity is being improved through improved varieties of cassava, sweet potatoes, ginger, and bananas, as well as through programs support veterinary and animal husbandry practices.
Since 80 percent of the rural population is dependent on rain-fed agriculture for their livelihoods, these solutions are essential to maintain resilience in the face of the climate crisis. Increasing investment in the raw materials for agriculture in Comoros through concessional loans to MSMEs to develop value-added products is an essential step towards supporting these communities, and represents the first step in a longer term development approach to advance foundational infrastructure and integrate other solutions in other sectors to also advance sustainable energy, water security, economic diversification, and sustainable transportation.
Read the full SIDS Bulletin 68 here.