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Map of Madagascar
Introduction Madagascar
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. 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.
Geography Madagascar
Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Mozambique
Geographic coordinates:
20 00 S, 47 00 E
Map references:
total: 587,040 sq km
water: 5,500 sq km
land: 581,540 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than twice the size of Arizona
Land boundaries:
0 km
4,828 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or 100 NM from the 2,500-m deep 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, salt, quartz, tar sands, semiprecious stones, mica, fish, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 4.41%
permanent crops: 0.93%
other: 94.66% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
10,900 sq km (1998 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, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
world's fourth-largest island; strategic location along Mozambique Channel
People Madagascar
16,473,477 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 45% (male 3,713,700; female 3,696,478)
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
female: 58.11 years (2002 est.)
male: 53.45 years
Total fertility rate:
5.77 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.15% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
11,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
870 (1999 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
indigenous beliefs 52%, Christian 41%, Muslim 7%
French (official), Malagasy (official)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 80%
male: 88%
female: 73% (1990 est.)
Government Madagascar
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Madagascar
conventional short form: Madagascar
local short form: Madagascar
former: Malagasy Republic
local long form: Republique de Madagascar
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
6 provinces (faritany); Antananarivo, Antsiranana, Fianarantsoa, Mahajanga, Toamasina, Toliara
26 June 1960 (from France)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 26 June (1960)
19 August 1992 by national referendum
Legal system:
based on French civil law system and traditional Malagasy law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President 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 51.5% 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 (160 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 15 December 2002 (next to be held NA 2006)
election results: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - TIM 103, FP 22, AREMA 3, LEADER/Fanilo 2, RPSD 5, TTS 2, HBM 1, independents 22
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 [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:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Zina ANDRIANARIVELO-RAZAFY
consulate(s) general: New York
FAX: [1] (202) 483-7603
telephone: [1] (202) 265-5525, 5526
chancery: 2374 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Wanda L. NESBITT
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
Economy Madagascar
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.
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.)
Population below poverty line:
70% (1994 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 37% (1997)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
46 (1997)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
7% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
7 million (1999) (1999)
Unemployment rate:
revenues: $553 million
expenditures: $735 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1998 est.)
meat processing, soap, breweries, tanneries, sugar, textiles, glassware, cement, automobile assembly plant, paper, petroleum, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
3% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production:
820 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 37%
hydro: 63%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
762.6 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
coffee, vanilla, sugarcane, cloves, cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), beans, bananas, peanuts; livestock products
$680 million f.o.b. (2000)
Exports - commodities:
coffee, vanilla, shellfish, sugar; cotton cloth, chromite, petroleum products
Exports - partners:
France 41%, US 21%, Germany 7%, Japan 4%, UK 1% (2000)
$919 million f.o.b. (2000)
Imports - commodities:
intermediate manufactures, capital goods, petroleum, consumer goods, food
Imports - partners:
France 38%, Hong Kong 10%, China 5%, Singapore 5%, Japan 3%
Debt - external:
$4.5 billion (2000)
Economic aid - recipient:
$838 million (1997) (1997)
Malagasy franc (MGF)
Currency code:
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
Communications Madagascar
Telephones - main lines in use:
55,000 (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
63,100 (2000)
Telephone system:
general assessment: system is above average for the region
domestic: open-wire lines, coaxial cables, microwave radio relay, and tropospheric scatter links connect regions
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)
3.05 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (plus 36 repeaters) (2001)
325,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)
Internet users:
35,000 (2002)
Transportation Madagascar
total: 893 km
narrow gauge: 893 km 1.000-m gauge (2001)
total: 49,837 km
paved: 5,781 km
unpaved: 44,056 km (1996)
note: of local importance only
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.)
130 (2001)
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 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 92
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 46
under 914 m: 44 (2002)
Military Madagascar
Military branches:
People's Armed Forces (comprising Intervention Force, Development Force, Aeronaval [Navy and Air] Force), Gendarmerie, Presidential Security Regiment
Military manpower - military age:
20 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 3,758,940 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 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 Madagascar
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

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003