Back to Standard Web Page


Country and Regional Maps

Links to Other Sites


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.


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

Geographic coordinates: 20 00 S, 47 00 E

Map references: Africa

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

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

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 4,828 km

Maritime claims
  contiguous zone: 24 nm
  continental shelf: 200 nm or 100 nm from the 2,500-m deep isobath
  exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
  territorial sea: 12 nm

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%
  permanent pastures: 41%
  forests and woodland: 40%
  other: 14% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 10,870 sq km (1993 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, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
  signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

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


Population: 15,506,472 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure
  0-14 years: 45% (male 3,504,562; female 3,481,056)
  15-64 years: 52% (male 3,964,564; female 4,052,056)
  65 years and over: 3% (male 237,691; female 266,543) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.02% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 42.92 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 12.69 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio
  at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
  under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
  15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
  65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
  total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 85.26 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
  total population: 54.95 years
  male: 52.71 years
  female: 57.26 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.84 children born/woman (2000 est.)

  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)

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


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

Data code: MA

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 Didier RATSIRAKA (since 10 February 1997)
  head of government: Prime Minister Tantely Rene Gabriot ANDRIANARIVO (since NA 1998)
  cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister
  elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 29 December 1996 (next to be held NA 2002); prime minister appointed by the president from a list of candidates nominated by the National Assembly
  election results: Didier RATSIRAKA elected president; percent of vote - Didier RATSIRAKA (AREMA) 50.7%, Albert ZAFY (AFFA) 49.3%

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: National Assembly - last held 17 May 1998 (next to be held NA 2002)
  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 [Pierrot RAJAONARIVELO]; Congress Party for Malagasy Independence or AKFM/Fanavaozana [Pastor Richard ANDRIAMANJATO]; 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 [Tovonanahary RABETSITONTA]; Judged by Your Work or AVI [Norbert RATSIRAHONANA]; Movement for the Progress of Madagascar or MFM [Manandafy RAKOTONIRINA]; National Union for Development and Democracy or UNDD; Renewal of the Social Democratic Party or RPSD [Evariste MARSON]

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

International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, InOC, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US
  chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Biclair Henri ANDRIANANTOANDRO
  chancery: 2374 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
  telephone: [1] (202) 265-5525, 5526
  consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US
  chief of mission: Ambassador Shirley E. BARNES
  embassy: 14-16 Rue Rainitovo, Antsahavola, Antananarivo
  mailing address: B. P. 620, Antananarivo
  telephone: [261] (2) 212-57, 200-89, 207-18
  FAX: [261] (2) 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 - 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 34% 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 demand, and the erratic commitment of the government to economic reform. Formidable obstacles stand in the way of Madagascar's realizing its considerable growth potential; the extent of government reforms, outside financial aid, and foreign investment will be key determinants. Growth should be in the 5% range in 2000-01.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $11.5 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 4.5% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $780 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector
  agriculture: 34%
  industry: 12%
  services: 54% (1997 est.)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share
  lowest 10%: 2.3%
  highest 10%: 34.9% (1993)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 9.5% (1999 est.)

Labor force: 7 million (1995)

Unemployment rate: NA%

  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: 5% (1999 est.)

Electricity - production: 750 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source
  fossil fuel: 33.33%
  hydro: 66.67%
  nuclear: 0%
  other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 698 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)

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

Exports: $600 million (f.o.b., 1998 est.)

Exports - commodities: coffee 45%, vanilla 20%, cloves, shellfish, sugar, petroleum products (1995 est.)

Exports - partners: France 40%, US 9%, Germany 8%, Japan 6%, UK 6% (1997)

Imports: $881 million (c.i.f., 1998 est.)

Imports - commodities: intermediate manufactures 30%, capital goods 28%, petroleum 15%, consumer goods 14%, food 13% (1995 est.)

Imports - partners: France 39%, Hong Kong 5%, Japan 5%, China, Singapore (1997)

Debt - external: $4.1 billion (1997 est.)

Economic aid - recipient: $838 million (1997)

Currency: 1 Malagasy franc (FMG) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Malagasy francs (FMG) per US$1 - 6,302.9 (October 1999), 5,877.81 (1999), 5,441.4 (1998), 5,090.9 (1997), 4,061.3 (1996), 4,265.6 (1995)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones - main lines in use: 33,000 (1995)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 0 (1995)

Telephone system: system is above average for the region
  domestic: open-wire lines, coaxial cables, microwave radio relay, and tropospheric scatter links
  international: submarine cable to Bahrain; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 2 (plus 8 repeater stations), FM 7, shortwave 5 (1998)

Radios: 3.05 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 1 (plus 36 repeaters) (1997)

Televisions: 325,000 (1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 3 (1999)


  total: 883 km
  narrow gauge: 883 km 1.000-m gauge (1994)

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

Waterways: of local importance only; isolated streams and small portions of Lakandranon' Ampangalana (Canal des Pangalanes)

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

Merchant marine
  total: 13 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 24,819 GRT/34,173 DWT
  ships by type: cargo 7, chemical tanker 1, liquified gas 1, petroleum tanker 2, roll-on/roll-off 2 (1999 est.)

Airports: 133 (1999 est.)

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 (1999 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways
  total: 104
  1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
  914 to 1,523 m: 59
  under 914 m: 42 (1999 est.)


Military branches: Popular Armed Forces (includes Intervention Forces, Development Forces, Aeronaval Forces - includes Navy and Air Force), Gendarmerie, Presidential Security Regiment

Military manpower - military age: 20 years of age

Military manpower - availability
  males age 15-49: 3,525,754 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service
  males age 15-49: 2,092,308 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually
  males: 149,157 (2000 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $29 million (FY94)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1% (FY94)

Transnational Issues

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

Copyright © 2001 International Opportunities. All Rights Reserved.
Site Version 1.75 - Last updated December 20, 2006

Animated flag courtesy of The Animation Factory.
Back to Standard Web Page