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Madagascar, See : Flags, Maps

Madagascar (Africa)


Een goudzoeker op Madagascar, S. Lagrange

Introduction ::Madagascar


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 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

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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 country comparison to the world: 46 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, 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 (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

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

People ::Madagascar


21,281,844 (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 56

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) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 18.1 years

male: 17.8 years

female: 18.3 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.993% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 13

Birth rate:

37.89 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 20

Death rate:

7.97 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 107

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population country comparison to the world: 92


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 (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 52.84 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 47 male: 57.69 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 47.84 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 63.26 years country comparison to the world: 175 male: 61.27 years

female: 65.3 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

5.09 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 21

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.1% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 117

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

14,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 88

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

fewer than 1,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 79

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%


French (official), Malagasy (official), English


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: 10 years

male: 10 years

female: 10 years (2008)

Education expenditures:

2.9% of GDP (2008) country comparison to the world: 152

Government ::Madagascar

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:

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 on 4 May 2011); 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 16 March 2011); 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:

(correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, SADC,

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Eulalie N. RAVELOSOA

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

Economy ::Madagascar

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):

$20.73 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 123 $20.42 billion (2009 est.)

$20.63 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$8.33 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

1.5% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 168 -1% (2009 est.)

7% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$1,000 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 217 $1,000 (2009 est.)

$1,000 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 26.5%

industry: 16.7%

services: 56.8% (2010 est.)

Labor force:

9.504 million (2007) country comparison to the world: 51

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) country comparison to the world: 32 38.1 (1999)

Investment (gross fixed):

34.6% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 9

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

8.1% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 189 9% (2009 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

45% (31 December 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 3 45% (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$1.233 billion (31 December 2010 est) country comparison to the world: 133 $1.228 billion (31 December 2009 est)

Stock of broad money:

$2.012 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 142 $1.994 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$1.02 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 149 $997.6 million (31 December 2009 est.)

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:

2% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 131

Electricity - production:

1.045 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 144

Electricity - consumption:

971.4 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 145

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 166

Oil - consumption:

21,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 124

Oil - exports:

365 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 126

Oil - imports:

16,940 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 117

Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 142

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 151

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 142

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 156

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 100

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.) country comparison to the world: 163

Current account balance:

-$600 million (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 123 -$561 million (2009 est.)


$1.412 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 140 $1.309 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - commodities:

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

Exports - partners:

France 28.9%, US 20.49%, Germany 5.89%, China 4.36% (2009)


$1.958 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 152 $1.893 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - commodities:

capital goods, petroleum, consumer goods, food

Imports - partners:

China 12.99%, Thailand 11.93%, Bahrain 7.1%, France 6.89%, US 4.13% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$1.038 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 108 $1.136 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - external:

$2.973 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 130 $2.261 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

Exchange rates:

Malagasy ariary (MGA) per US dollar - 2,062.5 (2010), 1,956.21 (2009), 1,654.78 (2008), 1,880 (2007), 2,161.4 (2006)

Communications ::Madagascar

Telephones - main lines in use:

181,200 (2009) country comparison to the world: 127

Telephones - mobile cellular:

5.997 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 86

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)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

27,606 (2010) country comparison to the world: 99

Internet users:

319,900 (2009) country comparison to the world: 127

Transportation ::Madagascar


84 (2010) country comparison to the world: 67

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 country comparison to the world: 98 narrow gauge: 854 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)


total: 65,663 km country comparison to the world: 70 paved: 7,617 km

unpaved: 58,046 km (2003)


600 km country comparison to the world: 80 note: 432 km navigable (2008)

Merchant marine:

total: 8 country comparison to the world: 124 by type: cargo 4, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 2 (2010)

Ports and terminals:

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

Military ::Madagascar

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: 4,745,274

females age 16-49: 4,750,188 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 3,268,291

females age 16-49: 3,541,256 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 242,334

female: 241,359 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

1% of GDP (2006) country comparison to the world: 134

Transnational Issues ::Madagascar

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


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