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Countries > Madagascar Madagascar Flag

Languages   3 languages are spoken in Madagascar. We have 317 products available for 2 of those languages.

Capital: Antananarivo
Population: 14,100,000
Click to Listen Play the National Anthem
Madagascar Map


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 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

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, Endangered Species, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change, Desertification, Law of the Sea

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


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

Age structure:
0-14 years: 45% (male 3,188,839; female 3,114,958)
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:
total population: 55.74 years
male :53.45 years
female: 58.11 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.77 children born/woman (2002 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

National capital: Antananarivo

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

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: PrPresident 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 by President RAVALOMANANA

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 (Cour Supreme); High Constitutional Court (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, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Zina ANDRIANARIVELO-RAZAFY
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 Wanda L. NESBITT
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) 234-539

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 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.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 7% (2001 est.)

Labor force:
total:7 million (1999)
by occupation : agriculture 45,500, domestic service 29,750, industry 26,250, commerce 24,500, construction 19,250, service 15,750, transportation 10,500, other 3,500 (1985 est.)
note: 175,000 workers (3.6% of the total work force) earn money wages; 4,725,000 workers receive no monetary wage (of these, 91% are engaged in subsistence agriculture)

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: 3% (2000 est.)

Electricity - capacity: 208,000 kW (1991)

Electricity - production:820 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 762.6 million kWh (2000)

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

total value: $680 million (f.o.b., 2000)
commodities: coffee 45%, vanilla 20%, cloves, shellfish, sugar, petroleum products (1995 est.)
partners : France 41%, US 21%, Germany 7%, Japan 4%, UK 1% (2000)

total value: $919 million (f.o.b., 2000)
commodities : intermediate manufactures 30%, capital goods 28%, petroleum 15%, consumer goods 14%, food 13% (1995 est.)
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: 1 Malagasy franc ((MGF) = 100 centimes

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 (1997)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 55,000 (2000)

Telephone system: system is above average for Africa
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 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)


total : 883 km
narrow gauge: 883 km 1.000-m gauge (2001)

total: 49,837 km
paved: 5,731 km
unpaved : 44,056 km (1996)

Waterways: of local importance only; isolated streams and small portions of Canal des Pangalanes

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

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:
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 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: 3,758,940 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males: 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

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

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