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Flag of Madagascar

Country Profile

Capital City: Antananarivo (Tananarive)

Other Cities: Antsirabé (about 500 000), Mahajanga (about 400 000), Toamasina (about 450 000)

Local Time: UTC +3h

Madagascar, the Red Island, the Rainbow Island, the Eighth Continent, there are many names for the world's 4th largest island. Madagascar is situated in the south western area of the Indian Ocean east of the coast of Africa about 400 km off the coast of Mozambique.
Location: Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Mozambique.
Area: 587 040 sq km (226,658 sq miles) about the size of Texas or France.
Terrain: Mountainous central plateau, coastal plain.

Climate: tropical along coast, temperate inland, arid in south, periodic cyclones.

Type: Republic
Independence: 26 June 1960 (from France)
Constitution: 19 August 1992 by national referendum

Nationality: noun (singular and plural) and adjective: Malagasy
Population: 17 500 000 (July 2004 est.)
Ethnic Groups: 18 separate tribal groups of Malayo-Indonesian, mixed African and Malayo-Indonesian, and Arab ancestry, French, Indian, Creole, Comoran.
Religions: Indigenous beliefs 52%, Christian 41%, Muslim 7%.
Languages: Malagasy (of Malayo-Polynesian origin), French, (both official), English
Literacy: 68.9%


Currency: Ariary and Malagasy Franc (FMG)

Natural resources: Graphite, chromite, coal, bauxite, salt, quartz, tar sands, semiprecious stones, mica, fish, hydropower.

Agriculture products: Coffee, vanilla, sugarcane, cloves, cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), beans, bananas, peanuts; livestock products.

Industries: Meat processing, soap, breweries, tanneries, sugar, textiles, glassware, cement, automobile assembly plant, paper, petroleum, tourism.

Exports partners:
France 37.4%, USA 29.2%, Germany 5.5%, Mauritius 5.2% (2003)

Imports partners: China 14.2%, France 13.2%, South Africa 6.4%, Iran 6.2% (2003)

Internet Links

Official Sites of Madagascar

Assemblée nationale malgache

Diplomatic Missions
Ambassade de Madagascar au Canada

Représentation de Madagascar en Suisse

Madagascar Consulate General

Représentation étrangères à Madagascar

Malagasy Diplomatic Missions

Institut National de la Statistique Malgache

Map of Madagascar

Small Map of Madagascar

Indian Ocean Map



Background:  Formerly an independent kingdom, Madagascar became a French
colony in 1886, but regained its 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.

Geography Madagascar

Location:  Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Mozambique

Geographic coordinates:  20 00 S, 47 00 E

Map references:  Africa

Area:  total: 587,040 sq km water: 5,500 sq km land: 581,540 sq km

Area - comparative:  slightly less than twice the size of Arizona

Land boundaries:  0 km

Coastline:  4,828 km

Maritime claims:   12 NM exclusive economic zone: Climate:  tropical
along coast, temperate inland, arid in south

Terrain:  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: 4% permanent crops: 1% other: 95% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  10,900 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:  periodic cyclones

Environment - current issues:  soil erosion results from deforestation
and overgrazing; desertification; surface water contaminated with raw
sewage and other organic wastes; several species of flora and fauna
unique to the island are endangered

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Biodiversity, Climate
Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the
Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection,
Wetlands signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:  world's fourth-largest island; strategic location
along Mozambique Channel

People Madagascar

Population:  16,473,477 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 45% (male 3,713,700; female 3,696,478) 15-64
years: 51.8% (male 4,227,931; female 4,313,940) 65 years and over: 3.2%
(male 241,699; female 279,729) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  3.03% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  42.41 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  12.15 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  81.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   58.11 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  5.77 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  0.15% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  11,000 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  870 (1999 est.)

Nationality:  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

Religions:  indigenous beliefs 52%, Christian 41%, Muslim 7%

Languages:  French (official), Malagasy (official)

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 80% male: 88% female: 73% (1990 est.)

Government Madagascar

Country name:   Republic of Madagascar conventional short form:  long
form: Republique de Madagascar

Government type:  republic

Capital:  Antananarivo

Administrative divisions:  6 provinces (faritany); Antananarivo,
Antsiranana, Fianarantsoa, Mahajanga, Toamasina, Toliara

Independence:  26 June 1960 (from France)

National holiday:  Independence Day, 26 June (1960)

Constitution:  19 August 1992 by national referendum

Legal system:  based on French civil law system and traditional Malagasy
law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage:  18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:  chief of state: President Marc RAVALOMANANA (since 6
May 2002) head of government: Prime Minister Jacques SYLLA (27 May 2002)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister elections:
president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last
held 16 December 2001 (next to be held NA November 2006); prime minister
appointed by the president from a list of candidates nominated by the
National Assembly election results: percent of vote - Didier RATSIRAKA
(AREMA) 40.89%, Marc RAVALOMANANA 46.21%; note - on 29 April 2002,
the High Constitutional Court announced RAVALOMANANA the winner by just
over 50% after a recount; RATSIRIKA's prime minister was put under house
arrest on 27 May 2002, and SYLLA was appointed the new prime minister

Legislative branch:  unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale
(150 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote to serve
four-year terms); note - the legislature is scheduled to become a
bicameral Parliament with the establishment of a Senate; two-thirds of
the seats of this Senate will be filled by regional assemblies whose
members will be elected by popular vote; the remaining one-third of the
seats will be appointed by the president; the total number of seats will
be determined by the National Assembly; all members will serve four-year
terms elections:  election results: National Assembly - percent of vote
by party - NA%; seats by party - AREMA 63, LEADER/Fanilo 16, AVI 14,
RPSD 11, AFFA 6, MFM 3, AKFM/Fanavaozana 3, GRAD/Iloafo 1, Fihaonana 1,
independents 32

Judicial branch:  Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; High Constitutional
Court or Haute Cour Constitutionnelle

Political parties and leaders:  Action, Truth, Development, and Harmony or
AFFA [Professor Albert ZAFY]; Association for the Rebirth of Madagascar
or AREMA [leader vacant]; Congress Party for Malagasy Independence or
AKFM/Fanavaozana [leader NA]; Economic Liberalism and Democratic Action
for National Recovery or LEADER/Fanilo [Herizo RAZAFIMAHALEO]; Fihaonana
Rally or Fihaonana [Guy RAZANAMASY]; Group of Reflection and Action for
the Development of Madagascar or GRAD/Iloafo; Judged by Your Work or AVI
[Norbert RATSIRAHONANA]; Movement for the Progress of Madagascar or MFM
[Manandafy RAKOTONIRINA]; Renewal of the Social Democratic Party or RPSD
[Evariste MARSON]; Tranobe (Big House) [Ny Hasina ANDRIAMANJATO]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  Federalist Movement; National
Council of Christian Churches or FFKM

International organization participation:  ACCT, ACP, AfDB, CCC, ECA, FAO,
IMO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAU, UN,

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador Zina
ANDRIANARIVELO-RAZAFY consulate(s) general: New York FAX: [1] (202)
265-3034 telephone: [1] (202) 265-5525, 5526 chancery: 2374 Massachusetts
Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Wanda L. NESBITT embassy: 14-16 Rue Rainitovo, Antsahavola, Antananarivo
mailing address: B. P. 620, Antsahavola, Antananarivo telephone: [261]
(20) 22-212-57 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

Economy Madagascar

Economy - overview:  Madagascar faces problems of chronic malnutrition,
underfunded health and education facilities, a roughly 3% annual
population growth rate, and severe loss of forest cover, accompanied by
erosion. Agriculture, including fishing and forestry, is the mainstay
of the economy, accounting for one-third of GDP and contributing more
than 70% to export earnings. Industry features textile manufacturing and
the processing of agricultural products. Growth in output in 1992-97
averaged less than the growth rate of the population. Growth has been
held back by antigovernment strikes and demonstrations, a decline in
world coffee prices, and the erratic commitment of the government to
economic reform. The extent of government reforms, outside financial aid,
and foreign investment will be key determinants of future growth.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $14 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  5% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $870 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 34% industry: 11% services:
55% (1999 est.)

Population below poverty line:  70% (1994 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: 2.2%
highest 10%: 37.3% (1997)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:  46 (1997)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  7% (2001 est.)

Labor force:  7 million (1999)

Unemployment rate:  NA%

Budget:  revenues: $553 million expenditures: $735 million, including
capital expenditures of $NA (1998 est.)

Industries:  meat processing, soap, breweries, tanneries, sugar, textiles,
glassware, cement, automobile assembly plant, paper, petroleum, tourism

Industrial production growth rate:  3% (2000 est.)

Electricity - production:  820 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 36.59% hydro: 63.41%
other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  762.6 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  coffee, vanilla, sugarcane, cloves, cocoa,
rice, cassava (tapioca), beans, bananas, peanuts; livestock products

Exports:  $680 million (f.o.b., 2000)

Exports - commodities:  coffee, vanilla, shellfish, sugar; cotton cloth,
chromite, petroleum products

Exports - partners:  France 41%, US 21%, Germany 7%, Japan 4%, UK 1%

Imports:  $919 million (f.o.b., 2000)

Imports - commodities:  intermediate manufactures, capital goods,
petroleum, consumer goods, food

Imports - partners:  France 38%, Hong Kong 10%, China 5%, Singapore 5%,
Japan 3%

Debt - external:  $4.5 billion (2000)

Economic aid - recipient:  $838 million (1997)

Currency:  Malagasy franc (MGF)

Currency code:  MGF

Exchange rates:  Malagasy francs per US dollar - 6,531.4 (December 2001),
6,588.5 (2001), 6,767.5 (2000), 6,283.8 (1999), 5,441.4 (1998), 5,090.9

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Madagascar

Telephones - main lines in use:  55,000 (2000)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  63,100 (2000)

Telephone system:   system is above average for the region domestic:
scatter links connect regions international: submarine cable to Bahrain;
satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Intersputnik
(Atlantic Ocean region)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 2 (plus a number of repeater stations),
FM 9, shortwave 6 (2001)

Radios:  3.05 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  1 (plus 36 repeaters) (2001)

Televisions:  325,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .mg

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  2 (2000)

Internet users:  30,000 (2000)

Transportation Madagascar

Railways:  total: 893 km narrow gauge: 893 km 1.000-m gauge (2001)

Highways:  total: 49,837 km paved: 5,781 km unpaved: 44,056 km (1996)

Waterways:  note: of local importance only

Ports and harbors:  Antsiranana, Antsohimbondrona, Mahajanga, Toamasina,

Merchant marine:  total: 15 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 27,199
GRT/37,462 DWT ships by type: cargo 9, chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas 1,
petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 2 (2002 est.)

Airports:  130 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 29 over 3,047 m: 1 2,438 to 3,047
m: 2 1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 914 to 1,523 m: 20 under 914 m: 2 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 101 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 914 to
1,523 m: 55 under 914 m: 44 (2001)

Military Madagascar

Military branches:  People's Armed Forces (comprising Intervention
Force, Development Force, Aeronaval [Navy and Air] Force), Gendarmerie,
Presidential Security Regiment

Military manpower - military age:  20 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 3,758,940 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 2,229,304
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 153,856
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $48.7 million (FY01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  1.2% (FY01)

Transnational Issues Madagascar

Disputes - international:  claims Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso
Islands, Juan de Nova Island, and Tromelin Island (all administered
by France)

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 1 January 2002
La Gazette de la Grande Ile

L'Express de Madagascar

Madagascar Tribune

Midi Madagasikara


IRIN News: Madagascar

Arts & Culture
Links to Malagasy music

Business & Economy
Chambre de Commerce, d'Industrie, d'Artisanat et d'Agriculture

Air Madagascar

Fianarantsoa Cote Est

Destination Madagascar - Travel and Tour Guides
Office Maison du Tourisme de Madagascar MTM

Explore Madagascar!

Guide de Madagascar


Photography from Madagascar



Université d'Antananarivo

Université de Fianarantsoa

Parcs Nationaux et Réserves Naturelles de Madagascar

Lemurs of Madagascar: malagasy primates

Madagascar Wildlife Conservation (MWC)

MBG: Madagascar Biodiversity and Conservation

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: Science and Horticulture: Madagascar

About Madagascar

History of Madagascar

Will Go To: Madagascar

Index on Africa: Madagascar

Newsgroup of Madagascar



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