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  Introduction Back To Top

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 is now in his second term following a landslide victory in the generally free and fair presidential elections of 2006.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 14.96 cu km/yr (3%/2%/96%)
per capita: 804 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
337 cu km (1984)

Land boundaries:
0 km

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

tropical along coast, temperate inland, arid in south

Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
20 00 S, 47 00 E

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

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Maromokotro 2,876 m

narrow coastal plain, high plateau and mountains in center

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

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

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

4,828 km

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

Irrigated land:
10,860 sq km (2003)

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

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

Natural hazards:
periodic cyclones, drought, and locust infestation

Land use:
arable land: 5.03%
permanent crops: 1.02%
other: 93.95% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
5.19 children born/woman (2008 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: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
1.7% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
140,000 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 62.52 years
male: 60.58 years
female: 64.51 years (2008 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 (2008)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 68.9%
male: 75.5%
female: 62.5% (2003 est.)

Net migration rate:
NA (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Malayo-Indonesian (Merina and related Betsileo), Cotiers (mixed African, Malayo-Indonesian, and Arab ancestry - Betsimisaraka, Tsimihety, Antaisaka, Sakalava), French, Indian, Creole, Comoran

Median age:
total: 17.9 years
male: 17.7 years
female: 18.1 years (2008 est.)

20,042,552 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
3.1% of GDP (2006)

Population growth rate:
3.005% (2008 est.)

English (official), French (official), Malagasy (official)

Death rate:
8.32 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 55.59 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 60.59 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 50.45 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
7,500 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 9 years (2006)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 43.7% (male 4,408,615/female 4,349,862)
15-64 years: 53.2% (male 5,298,805/female 5,371,764)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 275,087/female 338,418) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
38.38 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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

noun: Malagasy (singular and plural)
adjective: Malagasy

  Government Back To Top

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

National holiday:
Independence Day, 26 June (1960)

18 years of age; universal

Government type:

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

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

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
bicameral legislature consists of a National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (127 seats - reduced from 160 seats by an April 2007 national referendum; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and a Senate or Senat (100 seats; two-thirds of the seats filled by regional assemblies; the remaining one-third of seats appointed by the president; to serve four-year terms)
elections: National Assembly - last held 23 September 2007 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - TIM 106, LEADER/Fanilo 1, independents 20

Legal system:
based on French civil law system and traditional Malagasy law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

Flag description:
two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green with a vertical white band of the same width on hoist side

26 June 1960 (from France)

Country name (Goverment):
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

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]

name: Antananarivo
geographic coordinates: 18 55 S, 47 31 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

19 August 1992 by national referendum

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Marc RAVALOMANANA (since 6 May 2002)
head of government: Prime Minister Charles RABEMANANJARA (25 January 2007)
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 3 December 2006 (next to be held in December 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%

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

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

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
France 31.8%, US 26.6%, Germany 6.1%, UK 4.9%, Italy 4.4% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
907 million kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
-$1.088 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$4.6 billion (2002)

Oil - exports:
480.3 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$1,100 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
27.2% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$767.5 million (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$21.62 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$9.729 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
47.5 (2001)

Exchange rates:
Malagasy ariary (MGA) per US dollar - 1,654.78 (2008 est.), 1,880 (2007), 2,161.4 (2006), 2,003 (2005), 1,868.9 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
7% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$1.161 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
7.3 million (2000)

Imports - partners:
France 13.6%, China 13%, Iran 8.1%, South Africa 6.4%, Hong Kong 4.9%, Mauritius 4.8% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
9.2% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 26%
industry: 15.9%
services: 58.1% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
17,100 bbl/day (2005)

$1.316 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
ariary (MGA)

Economy - overview:
Having discarded past socialist economic policies, Madagascar has since the mid 1990s followed a World Bank- and IMF-led policy of privatization and liberalization. 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. Deforestation and erosion, aggravated by the use of firewood as the primary source of fuel, are serious concerns. President RAVALOMANANA has worked aggressively to revive the economy following the 2002 political crisis, which triggered a 12% drop in GDP that year. Poverty reduction and combating corruption will be the centerpieces of economic policy for the next few years.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

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

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

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
50% (2004 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
45% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$577.4 million (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
1.045 billion kWh (2007 est.)

$2.541 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$996 million (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
18,190 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.9%
highest 10%: 36.6% (2001)

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

Economic aid - recipient:
$929.2 million (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 36.1%
hydro: 63.9%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $1.688 billion
expenditures: $2.066 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
92.18 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
110,000 (2006)

Telephones - main lines in use:
133,900 (2007)

325,000 (1997)

Internet country code:

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

3.05 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
2.218 million (2007)

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

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 added more than 50,000 new fixed lines since 2005
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile telephone density only about 12 per 100 persons
international: country code - 261; submarine cable to Bahrain; satellite earth stations - 2 (1 Intelsat - Indian Ocean, 1 Intersputnik - Atlantic Ocean region) (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)

Internet hosts:
11,016 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

600 km
note: 432 km navigable (2008)

total: 854 km
narrow gauge: 854 km 1.000-m gauge (2006)

Ports and terminals:
Antsiranana, Mahajanga, Toamasina, Toliara

Merchant marine:
total: 8
by type: cargo 4, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 2 (2008)

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 (2007)

total: 65,663 km
paved: 7,617 km
unpaved: 58,046 km (2003)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 77
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 41
under 914 m: 34 (2007)

104 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
18-25 years of age for male-only compulsory military service; 18-month conscript service obligation (either military or equivalent civil service); 20-30 years of age for National Gendarmerie recruits (35 years of age for those with military experience) (2008)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 4,443,341
females age 16-49: 4,441,124 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 3,034,600
females age 16-49: 3,271,732 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
People's Armed Forces: Intervention Force, Development Force, and Aeronaval Force (navy and air); National Gendarmerie

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 230,088
female: 229,932 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
1% of GDP (2006)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
claims Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, and Juan de Nova 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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