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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 over increasing restrictions on opposition press and activities resulted in... See More



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

Geographic Coordinates:

 20 00 S, 47 00 E


 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 (Rank: 29)

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, rare earth elements, 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 (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 337 cu km (1984)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 14.96 cu km/yr (3%/2%/96%)
Per capita: 804 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural Hazards:

 Periodic cyclones; drought; and locust infestation

Volcanism: Madagascar's volcanoes have not erupted in historical times

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

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 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


 French (official), Malagasy (official), English


 Indigenous beliefs 52%, Christian 41%, Muslim 7%


 21,926,221 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 43.1% (male 4,762,589/female 4,693,259)
15-64 years: 53.8% (male 5,864,520/female 5,938,029)
65 years and over: 3% (male 295,409/female 372,415) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 18.2 years
Male: 17.9 years
Female: 18.4 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 2.973% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 37.51 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 7.79 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 30% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 3.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 ANTANANARIVO (capital) 1.816 million (2009)

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 (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 440 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 51.45 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 56.23 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 46.52 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 63.63 years
Male: 61.62 years
Female: 65.7 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 5.02 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 6.2% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 0.161 physicians/1,000 population (2007)

Hospital Bed Density:

 0.3 beds/1,000 population (2005)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 71% of population
Rural: 29% of population
Total: 41% of population
Urban: 29% of population
Rural: 71% of population
Total: 59% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 15% of population
Rural: 10% of population
Total: 11% of population
Urban: 85% of population
Rural: 90% of population
Total: 89% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 0.2% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 24,000 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 1,700 (2009 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)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 36.8% (2004)

Obesity - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 2.1% (2005)

Education Expenditures:

 3% of GDP (2009)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 68.9%
Male: 75.5%
Female: 62.5% (2003 est.)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 11 years
Male: 11 years
Female: 11 years (2009)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24:

 Total: 2.3%
Male: 1.7%
Female: 2.8% (2005)

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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 17 November 2010; promulgated 11 December 2010 (2010)

Legal System:

 Civil law system based on the old French civil code and customary law in matters of marriage, family, and obligation

International Law Organization Participation:

 Accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: President Andry RAJOELINA (since 18 March 2009)

Head of government: Prime Minister Jean Omer BERIZIKY (since 2 November 2011)

Cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister

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 March 2012); prime minister appointed by the president; note - a power-sharing agreement in the summer of 2009 established a 15-month transition, concluding in general elections now scheduled for March 2012 after repeated delays

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 Transitional Authority; a power-sharing agreement reached in August 2009 established a 15-month transition period, concluding in general elections in 2010; as of December 2010 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 in March 2012); note - a power-sharing agreement in the summer of 2009 established a 15-month transition, concluding in general elections now scheduled for March 2012 after repeated delays

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 (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Velotiana Rakotoanosy RAOBELINA
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

National Anthem:

 Name: "Ry Tanindraza nay malala o" (Oh, Our Beloved Fatherland)
Lyrics/music: Pasteur RAHAJASON/Norbert RAHARISOA

Note: adopted 1959

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Economy - Overview:

 After discarding socialist economic policies in the mid-1990s, Madagascar followed a World Bank- and IMF-led policy of privatization and liberalization that has been undermined since the start of the political crisis. 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, and many investors are wary of entering the uncertain investment environment.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $19.41 billion (2010 est.)
$19.8 billion (2009 est.)
$20.55 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $8.345 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 -2% (2010 est.)
-3.7% (2009 est.)
7.1% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $900 (2010 est.)
$1,000 (2009 est.)
$1,000 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 29.3%
Industry: 16.2%
Services: 54.5% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 9.504 million (2007)

Population Below Poverty Line:

 50% (2004 est.)

Household Income / Consumption By 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):

 18.8% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $1.184 billion
Expenditures: $1.35 billion (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 14.2% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -2% of GDP (2010 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 9.2% (2010 est.)
9% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:

 5% (31 December 2010 est.)
NA% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 46% (31 December 2010 est.)
44.617% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $1.216 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 Narrow Money:

 $1.22 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$1.229 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $1.994 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$1.996 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $890.8 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$998.4 million (31 December 2009 est.)

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:

 2% (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 1.11 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 36.1%
Hydro: 63.9%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 1.032 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 22,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 16,390 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$2.106 billion (2010 est.)
-$2.368 billion (2009 est.)


 $1.173 billion (2010 est.)
$881.4 million (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Coffee, vanilla, shellfish, sugar, cotton cloth, chromite, petroleum products

Exports - Partners:

 France 26.3%, US 9.2%, China 8.5%, Netherlands 6.4%, Germany 5.6%, Canada 4.4%, Spain 4.3% (2010)


 $3.453 billion (2010 est.)
$3.211 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Capital goods, petroleum, consumer goods, food

Imports - Partners:

 China 14.6%, France 11.4%, South Africa 6.4%, India 5.4%, Bahrain 4.6%, US 4.3%, Singapore 4.1% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $1.172 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$1.136 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $2.265 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$2.214 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert to Any Currency

Malagasy ariary (MGA) per US dollar -
2,062.5 (2010)
1,956.2 (2009)
1,654.78 (2008)
1,880 (2007)
2,161.4 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 172,200 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 8.242 million (2010)

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 been adding fixed line connections since 2005

Domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity about 30 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) (2009)

Broadcast Media:

 State-owned Radio Nationale Malagasy (RNM) and Television Malagasy (TVM) have an extensive national network reach; privately-owned radio and TV broadcasters in cities and major towns; state-run radio predominates in rural areas; relays of 2 international broadcasters are available in Antananarivo (2007)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 2, FM 9, shortwave 6 (2001)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 1 (plus 36 repeaters) (2001)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 27,606 (2010)

Internet Users:

 319,900 (2009)

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 84 (2010)

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 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 57
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 35
Under 914 m: 20 (2010)


 Total: 854 km
Narrow gauge: 854 km 1.000-m gauge (2010)


 Total: 65,663 km
Paved: 7,617 km
Unpaved: 58,046 km (2003)


 600 km (432 km navigable) (2010)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 8
By type: cargo 4, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 2 (2010)

Ports and Terminals:

 Antsiranana (Diego Suarez), Mahajanga, Toamasina, Toliara (Tulear)

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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: 4,900,729
Females age 16-49: 4,909,061 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 3,390,071
Females age 16-49: 3,682,180 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 248,184
Female: 246,769 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 1% of GDP (2006)

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Disputes - International:

 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

Trafficking in Persons:

 Current situation: Madagascar is a source country for women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; sex and labor trafficking have increased, particularly due to a lack of economic development and a decline in the rule of law during the current political crisis, which began in March 2009; children, mostly from rural areas, are subjected to domestic servitude, commercial sexual exploitation, and forced labor in mining, fishing, and agriculture within the country

Tier rating: Tier 3 - combating human trafficking has not been a priority of the de facto government, despite the growing size of the problem both internally and transnationally; the authorities' anti-trafficking efforts were negligible during the past year; they failed to prosecute or convict trafficking offenders, to identify and refer repatriated victims to necessary services, and to prevent the increased trafficking of Malagasy citizens; lack of awareness on the coverage and application of the anti-trafficking law, and the continued arrest and punishment of potential underage children in prostitution by local law enforcement, contributes to the dismal state of anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts in Madagascar (2011)

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Last Updated: December 2011

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