Introduction    Madagascar Top of Page
Formerly an independent kingdom, Madagascar became a French colony in 1896 but regained independence in 1960. During 1992-93, free presidential and National Assembly elections were held ending 17 years of single-party rule. In 1997, in the second presidential race, Didier RATSIRAKA, the leader during the 1970s and 1980s, was returned to the presidency. The 2001 presidential election was contested between the followers of Didier RATSIRAKA and Marc RAVALOMANANA, nearly causing secession of half of the country. In April 2002, the High Constitutional Court announced RAVALOMANANA the winner. RAVALOMANANA achieved a second term following a landslide victory in the generally free and fair presidential elections of 2006. In early 2009, protests due to increasing restrictions on opposition press and activities resulted in RAVALOMANANA stepping down and the presidency was conferred to the mayor of Antananarivo, Andry RAJOELINA. Following negotiations in July and August of 2009, a power-sharing agreement with a 15-month transitional period was established, but has not yet been implemented.
   Geography    Madagascar Top of Page
Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Mozambique
Geographic coordinates:
20 00 S, 47 00 E
Map references:
total: 587,041 sq km
land: 581,540 sq km
water: 5,501 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than twice the size of Arizona
Land boundaries:
0 km
4,828 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or 100 nm from the 2,500-m isobath
tropical along coast, temperate inland, arid in south
narrow coastal plain, high plateau and mountains in center
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Maromokotro 2,876 m
Natural resources:
graphite, chromite, coal, bauxite, salt, quartz, tar sands, semiprecious stones, mica, fish, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 5.03%
permanent crops: 1.02%
other: 93.95% (2005)
Irrigated land:
10,860 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
337 cu km (1984)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 14.96 cu km/yr (3%/2%/96%)
per capita: 804 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
periodic cyclones; drought; and locust infestation
Environment - current issues:
soil erosion results from deforestation and overgrazing; desertification; surface water contaminated with raw sewage and other organic wastes; several endangered species of flora and fauna unique to the island
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
world's fourth-largest island; strategic location along Mozambique Channel
   People    Madagascar Top of Page
20,653,556 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 43.5% (male 4,523,033/female 4,460,473)
15-64 years: 53.5% (male 5,483,684/female 5,557,098)
65 years and over: 3% (male 280,677/female 348,591) (2009 est.)
Median age:
total: 18 years
male: 17.8 years
female: 18.2 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate:
3% (2009 est.)
Birth rate:
38.14 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate:
8.14 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
Net migration rate:
urban population: 29% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 3.8% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 54.2 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 59.12 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 49.13 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 62.89 years
male: 60.93 years
female: 64.91 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate:
5.14 children born/woman (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
14,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 1,000 (2007 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: chikungunya, malaria, and plague
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2009)
noun: Malagasy (singular and plural)
adjective: Malagasy
Ethnic groups:
Malayo-Indonesian (Merina and related Betsileo), Cotiers (mixed African, Malayo-Indonesian, and Arab ancestry - Betsimisaraka, Tsimihety, Antaisaka, Sakalava), French, Indian, Creole, Comoran
indigenous beliefs 52%, Christian 41%, Muslim 7%
English (official), French (official), Malagasy (official)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 68.9%
male: 75.5%
female: 62.5% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 9 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
3.1% of GDP (2006)
   Government    Madagascar Top of Page
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Madagascar
conventional short form: Madagascar
local long form: Republique de Madagascar/Repoblikan'i Madagasikara
local short form: Madagascar/Madagasikara
former: Malagasy Republic
Government type:
name: Antananarivo
geographic coordinates: 18 55 S, 47 31 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
6 provinces (faritany); Antananarivo, Antsiranana, Fianarantsoa, Mahajanga, Toamasina, Toliara
26 June 1960 (from France)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 26 June (1960)
passed by referendum 19 August 1992
Legal system:
based on French civil law system and traditional Malagasy law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Andry RAJOELINA (since 18 March 2009)
head of government: Prime Minister Albert Camille VITAL (since 18 December 2009)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 3 December 2006 (next to be held in October 2010); prime minister appointed by the president
election results percent of vote - Marc RAVALOMANANA 54.8%, Jean LAHINIRIKO 11.7%, Roland RATSIRAKA 10.1%, Herizo RAZAFIMAHALEO 9.1%, Norbert RATSIRAHONANA 4.2%, Ny Hasina ANDRIAMANJATO 4.2%, Elia RAVELOMANANTSOA 2.6%, Pety RAKOTONIAINA 1.7%, other 1.6%; note - RAVALOMANANA stepped down on 17 March 2009
note: on 17 March 2009, democratically elected President Marc RAVALOMANANA stepped down handing the government over to the military, which in turn conferred the presidency on opposition leader and Antananarivo mayor Andry RAJOELINA, who will head the High Transition Authority; a power-sharing agreement reached in August 2009 established a 15-month transition period, concluding in general elections in 2010; as of December 2009 the agreement had not been fully implemented
Legislative branch:
bicameral legislature consists of a Senate or Senat (100 seats; two-thirds of the members appointed by regional assemblies; the remaining one-third appointed by the president; members to serve four-year terms) and a National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (127 seats - reduced from 160 seats by an April 2007 national referendum; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: National Assembly - last held on 23 September 2007 (next to be held on 20 March 2010); note - a power-sharing agreement in the summer of 2009 established a 15-month transition, concluding in general elections
election results: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - TIM 106, LEADER/Fanilo 1, independents 20
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; High Constitutional Court or Haute Cour Constitutionnelle
Political parties and leaders:
Association for the Rebirth of Madagascar or AREMA [Pierrot RAJAONARIVELO]; Democratic Party for Union in Madagascar or PSDUM [Jean LAHINIRIKO]; Economic Liberalism and Democratic Action for National Recovery or LEADER/Fanilo [Herizo RAZAFIMAHALEO]; Fihaonana Party or FP [Guy-Willy RAZANAMASY]; I Love Madagascar or TIM [Marc RAVALOMANANA]; Renewal of the Social Democratic Party or RPSD [Evariste MARSON]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Committee for the Defense of Truth and Justice or KMMR; Committee for National Reconciliation or CRN [Albert Zafy]; National Council of Christian Churches or FFKM
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Jocelyn Bertin RADIFERA
chancery: 2374 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 265-5525 through 5526
FAX: [1] (202) 265-3034
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador R. Niels MARQUARDT
embassy: 14-16 Rue Rainitovo, Antsahavola, Antananarivo 101
mailing address: B. P. 620, Antsahavola, Antananarivo
telephone: [261] (20) 22-212-57, 22-212-73, 22-209-56
FAX: [261] (20) 22-345-39
Flag description:
two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green with a vertical white band of the same width on hoist side; by tradition, red stands for sovereignty, green for hope, white for purity
   Economy    Madagascar Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Having discarded past socialist economic policies, Madagascar has since the mid-1990s followed a World Bank- and IMF-led policy of privatization and liberalization. This strategy placed the country on a slow and steady growth path from an extremely low level. Agriculture, including fishing and forestry, is a mainstay of the economy, accounting for more than one-fourth of GDP and employing 80% of the population. Exports of apparel have boomed in recent years primarily due to duty-free access to the US. However, Madagascar's failure to comply with the requirements of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) led to the termination of the country's duty-free access in January 2010. Deforestation and erosion, aggravated by the use of firewood as the primary source of fuel, are serious concerns. Former President RAVALOMANANA worked aggressively to revive the economy following the 2002 political crisis, which triggered a 12% drop in GDP that year. The current political crisis which began in early 2009 has dealt additional blows to the economy. Tourism dropped more than 50% in 2009, compared with the previous year.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$20.5 billion (2009 est.)
$20.42 billion (2008 est.)
$19.08 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$9.079 billion (2009 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
0.4% (2009 est.)
7% (2008 est.)
6.2% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$1,000 (2009 est.)
$1,000 (2008 est.)
$1,000 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 26.6%
industry: 15.6%
services: 57.8% (2009 est.)
Labor force:
9.504 million (2007)
Population below poverty line:
50% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 41.5% (2005)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
47.5 (2001) 38.1 (1999)
Investment (gross fixed):
40.1% of GDP (2009 est.)
revenues: $1.232 billion
expenditures: $1.861 billion (2009 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
8% (2009 est.) 9.2% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
45% (31 December 2008) 45% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money:
$1.217 billion (31 December 2008) $1.161 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money:
$667.2 million (31 December 2008) $577.4 million (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit:
$820.3 million (31 December 2008) $767.5 million (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
Agriculture - products:
coffee, vanilla, sugarcane, cloves, cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), beans, bananas, peanuts; livestock products
meat processing, seafood, soap, breweries, tanneries, sugar, textiles, glassware, cement, automobile assembly plant, paper, petroleum, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
5.5% (2009 est.)
Electricity - production:
1.045 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - consumption:
971.4 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production:
85 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption:
20,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports:
365 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports:
16,940 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:
-$1.003 billion (2009 est.) -$1.03 billion (2008 est.)
$1.04 billion (2009 est.) $1.254 billion (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities:
coffee, vanilla, shellfish, sugar, cotton cloth, chromite, petroleum products
Exports - partners:
France 38.9%, US 20.3%, Germany 5% (2008)
$1.836 billion (2009 est.) $2.419 billion (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities:
capital goods, petroleum, consumer goods, food
Imports - partners:
China 20.1%, Bahrain 8.7%, France 6.3%, South Africa 5.7%, US 4.9%, India 4.4% (2008)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$798 million (31 December 2009 est.) $982.3 million (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt - external:
$2.054 billion (31 December 2009 est.) $2.023 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
Exchange rates:
Malagasy ariary (MGA) per US dollar - 1,966.97 (2009), 1,654.78 (2008), 1,880 (2007), 2,161.4 (2006), 2,003 (2005)
   Communications    Madagascar Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
164,900 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
4.835 million (2008)
Telephone system:
general assessment: system is above average for the region; Antananarivo's main telephone exchange modernized in the late 1990s, but the rest of the analogue-based telephone system is poorly developed; have added new fixed lines since 2005
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity about 25 per 100 persons
international: country code - 261; SEACOM undersea fiber-optic cable and the Lion undersea cable connecting to Reunion and Mauritius; satellite earth stations - 2 (1 Intelsat - Indian Ocean, 1 Intersputnik - Atlantic Ocean region) (2008)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 2, FM 9, shortwave 6 (2001)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (plus 36 repeaters) (2001)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
27,807 (2009)
Internet users:
316,100 (2008)
   Transportation    Madagascar Top of Page
89 (2009)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 27
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 17
under 914 m: 1 (2009)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 62
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 39
under 914 m: 21 (2009)
total: 854 km
narrow gauge: 854 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)
total: 65,663 km
paved: 7,617 km
unpaved: 58,046 km (2003)
600 km
note: 432 km navigable (2008)
Merchant marine:
total: 8
by type: cargo 4, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 2 (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Antsiranana, Mahajanga, Toamasina, Toliara
   Military    Madagascar Top of Page
Military branches:
People's Armed Forces: Intervention Force, Development Force, and Aeronaval Force (navy and air); National Gendarmerie
Military service age and obligation:
18-25 years of age for male-only voluntary military service; no conscription; service obligation - 18 months (either military or equivalent civil service); 20-30 years of age for National Gendarmerie recruits (35 years of age for those with military experience) (2010)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 4,443,341
females age 16-49: 4,441,124 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 3,150,043
females age 16-49: 3,404,988 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 236,500
female: 235,994 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures:
1% of GDP (2006)
   Transnational Issues    Madagascar Top of Page
claims Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, and Juan de Nova Island (all administered by France); the vegetated drying cays of Banc du Geyser, which were claimed by Madagascar in 1976,?also fall within the EEZ claims of the Comoros and France (Glorioso Islands, part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands)
Illicit drugs:
illicit producer of cannabis (cultivated and wild varieties) used mostly for domestic consumption; transshipment point for heroin

This page was last updated on 14 May 2009


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