Madagascar facts on every entity in the world

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 election of 2006. In early 2009, protests over increasing restrictions on opposition press and activities resulted in RAVALOMANANA handing over power to the military, which then conferred the presidency on the mayor of Antananarivo, Andry RAJOELINA, in what amounted to a coup d'etat. Following a lengthy mediation process led by the Southern African Development Community, Madagascar held UN-supported presidential and parliamentary elections in 2013. Former de facto finance minister Hery RAJAONARIMAMPIANINA won a runoff election in December 2013 and was inaugurated in January 2014.



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

Geographic coordinates

20.00° S, 47.00° E

Area 47/257

total: 587,041 sq km

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


mean elevation:

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

agricultural land: 71.1%

arable land 6%; permanent crops 1%; permanent pasture 64.1%

forest: 21.5%

other: 7.4% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

10,860 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

337 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 16.5 cu km/yr (2%/1%/97%)

per capita: 1,010 cu m/yr (2005)

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 and Society


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


French (official), Malagasy (official), English


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

Population 52/238

23,812,681 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 40.45% (male 4,856,231/female 4,775,025)

15-24 years: 20.53% (male 2,450,164/female 2,439,035)

25-54 years: 31.56% (male 3,760,230/female 3,755,775)

55-64 years: 4.24% (male 488,315/female 521,690)

65 years and over: 3.22% (male 347,151/female 419,065) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 80.3%

youth dependency ratio: 75.2%

elderly dependency ratio: 5.1%

potential support ratio: 19.5% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 19.4 years

male: 19.2 years

female: 19.5 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 21/233

2.58% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 33/224

32.61 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 138/225

6.81 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 90/222

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)


urban population: 35.1% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 4.69% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

ANTANANARIVO (capital) 2.61 million (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth


note: median age at first birth among women 20-24 (2008/09 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 48/184

353 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 47/224

total: 43.67 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 47.59 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 39.63 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 175/224

total population: 65.55 years

male: 64.09 years

female: 67.05 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 33/224

4.2 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

39.9% (2008/09)

Health expenditures 158/191

4.2% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

0.16 physicians/1,000 population (2007)

Hospital bed density

0.2 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source


urban: 81.6% of population

rural: 35.3% of population

total: 51.5% of population


urban: 18.4% of population

rural: 64.7% of population

total: 48.5% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access


urban: 18% of population

rural: 8.7% of population

total: 12% of population


urban: 82% of population

rural: 91.3% of population

total: 88% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.29% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

39,100 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

3,200 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 187/191

4.6% (2014)

Education expenditures 150/173

2.7% of GDP (2012)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 10 years

male: 11 years

female: 10 years (2012)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 133/134

total: 2.6%

male: 2.2%

female: 3% (2012 est.)


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

note: the name "Madageiscar" was first used by the 13th-century Venetian explorer Marco POLO, as a corrupted transliteration of Mogadishu, the Somali port with which POLO confused the island

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)


previous 1992; latest passed by referendum 17 November 2010, promulgated 11 December 2010 (2015)

Legal system

civil law system based on the old French civil code and customary law in matters of marriage, family, and obligation

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Madagascar; in the case of a child born out of wedlock, the mother must be a citizen

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: unknown


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Hery Martial RAJAONARIMAMPIANINA Rakotoarimana (since 25 January 2014)

head of government: Prime Minister Jean RAVELONARIVO (since 17 January 2015)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 20 December 2013 (next to be held in 2018); prime minister nominated by the National Assembly, appointed by the president

election results: Hery Martial RAJAONARIMAMPIANINA elected president; percent of vote in second round - Hery Martial RAJAONARIMAMPIANINA (FIDO) 53.5%, Jean Louis ROBINSON (AVANA) 46.5%

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; a power-sharing agreement established a 15-month transition period to conclude with a general election in 2010, which failed to occur; a subsequent agreement aimed for an early 2013 election - the first round was held on 25 October 2013 and the second on 20 December 2013

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Antenimierampirenena (151 seats; 87 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 64 directly elected in two-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: National Assembly - last held on 20 December 2013 (next to be held in 2017); note - a power-sharing agreement in the summer of 2009 established a 15-month transition, concluding in general elections held in 2013 after repeated delays

election results: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - MPAR 17.3%, MR 10.8%, VPM MMM 8.2%, PHI 3.8%, AMHM 3.5%, LF 2.8%, FFF 1.6%, AIM 1.0%, SFN 0.3%, independent and other 50.6%; seats by party - MPAR 49, MR 20, VPM MMM 13, PHI 5, AMHM 2, LF 5, FFF 2, AIM 2, SFN 2, other 22, independent 25, seats with delayed elections 4

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of 11 members; addresses judicial administration issues only); High Constitutional Court or Haute Cour Constitutionnelle (consists of 9 members); note - the judiciary includes a High Court of Justice responsible for adjudicating crimes and misdemeanors by government officials including the president

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court heads elected by the president and judiciary officials to serve single-renewable, 3-year terms; High Constitutional Court members appointed - 3 each by the president, by both legislative bodies, and by the Council of Magistrates; members serve single, 6-year terms

subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; provincial and city tribunals

Political parties and leaders

AVANA Party [Jean-Louis ROBINSON]

Economic Liberalism and Democratic Action for National Recovery/LEADER Fanilo or LF [Manasse ESOAVELOMANDROSO]

Green Party/Parti Vert or AMHM [Sarah Georget RABEHARISOA]

National Unity, Freedom, and Development or FFF [Benjamin RADAVIDSON Andriamparany]

New Force for Madagascar or FIDIO [Hery RAJAONARIMAMPIANINA]

Parti Hiaraka Isika or PHI [Albert Camille VITAL]

Party of Andry Rajoelina or MPAR [Andry RAJOELINA]

Pillar of Madagascar or AIM [Andry RAKOTOVAO]

Ravlomanana Movement or MR [Marc RAVALOMANANA]

Sambo Fiaran'i Noe or SFN

Union Party or Tambatra [Pety RAKOTONIAINA]

Vondrona Politika Miara dia Malagasy Miara Miainga or VPM MMM [Milavonjy ANDRIASY]

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


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 symbol(s)

traveller's palm, zebu; national colors: red, green, white

National anthem

name: "Ry Tanindraza nay malala o" (Oh, Our Beloved Fatherland)

lyrics/music: Pasteur RAHAJASON/Norbert RAHARISOA

note: adopted 1959


Economy - overview

Agriculture, including fishing and forestry, is a mainstay of the economy, accounting for more than one-fourth of GDP and employing roughly 80% of the population. Deforestation and erosion, aggravated by the use of firewood as the primary source of fuel, are serious concerns.

After discarding socialist economic policies in the mid-1990s, Madagascar followed a World Bank- and IMF-led policy of privatization and liberalization until the onset of a political crisis, which lasted from 2009-2013. The free market strategy had placed the country on a slow and steady growth path from an extremely low starting point. Exports of apparel boomed after gaining duty-free access to the US in 2000; 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, a sharp fall in textile production, and a loss of more than 100,000 jobs.

Madagascar regained AGOA access in January 2015 following the democratic election of a new President the previous year. In November 2015 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a Rapid Credit Facility to Madagascar worth about $42.1 million to help the government meet its balance of payments needs. The IMF also approved a staff monitoring program to guide policy implementation and indicated that Madagascar must demonstrate the capability to sustain reforms to qualify for future requests for a credit facility.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 120/230

$35.56 billion (2015 est.)

$34.39 billion (2014 est.)

$33.28 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$9.514 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 89/225

3.4% (2015 est.)

3.3% (2014 est.)

2.3% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 217/230

$1,500 (2015 est.)

$1,500 (2014 est.)

$1,400 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 118/179

14.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

15.3% of GDP (2014 est.)

10.3% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 83.2%

government consumption: 15.3%

investment in fixed capital: 15.8%

investment in inventories: -0.1%

exports of goods and services: 32%

imports of goods and services: -46.2%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 26.5%

industry: 16.9%

services: 56.6% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

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


meat processing, seafood, soap, beer, leather, sugar, textiles, glassware, cement, automobile assembly plant, paper, petroleum, tourism, mining

Industrial production growth rate 62/202

3.8% (2015 est.)

Labor force 44/233

12.57 million (2015 est.)

Unemployment rate


3.6% (2014 est.)

Population below poverty line

50% (2004 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.2%

highest 10%: 34.7% (2010 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 27/144

47.5 (2001)

38.1 (1999)


revenues: $2.533 billion

expenditures: $2.867 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 110/219

26.6% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 130/220

-3.5% of GDP (2015 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 190/226

7.1% (2015 est.)

6.1% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 78/156

5% (31 December 2010)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 1/184

62% (31 December 2015 est.)

60% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 139/192

$1.535 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$1.506 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 146/193

$2.745 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$2.399 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 141/191

$1.89 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$1.658 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance 71/197

-$128 million (2015 est.)

-$26 million (2014 est.)

Exports 133/224

$2.447 billion (2015 est.)

$2.187 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

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

Exports - partners

France 17.7%, US 8.8%, Belgium 6.8%, Netherlands 6.4%, South Africa 5.7%, Japan 5.4%, South Korea 5%, China 4.8%, Germany 4.5% (2014)

Imports 144/223

$3.041 billion (2015 est.)

$2.927 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

capital goods, petroleum, consumer goods, food

Imports - partners

China 20.6%, France 10.6%, Algeria 6.3%, India 5.4%, Bahrain 5%, Mauritius 4.6%, South Africa 4.2%, Kuwait 4% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 134/170

$962.9 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$773.8 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 141/206

$3.444 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$2.849 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

Exchange rates

Malagasy ariary (MGA) per US dollar -

2,872.7 (2015 est.)

2,414.8 (2014 est.)

2,414.8 (2013 est.)

2,195 (2012 est.)

2,025.1 (2011 est.)


Electricity - production 139/220

2.025 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 144/219

1.883 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 163/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 171/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 138/214

m 544,200 kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 109/214

69.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 133/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 75/214

30.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 109/212

0.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 161/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 154/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 90/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 160/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 205/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 149/212

12,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 197/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 132/213

12,120 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 215/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 166/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 138/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 95/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 99/212

2.01 billion cu m (1 January 2012 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 142/212

2.886 million Mt (2012 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines 121/219

total subscriptions: 250,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 91/217

total: 9 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 39 (2014 est.)

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

domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity about 40 per 100 persons

international: country code - 261; landing point for the EASSy, SEACOM, and LION fiber-optic submarine cable systems; satellite earth stations - 2 (1 Intelsat - Indian Ocean, 1 Intersputnik - Atlantic Ocean region) (2010)

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 dominates in rural areas; relays of 2 international broadcasters are available in Antananarivo (2007)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 2, FM 9, shortwave 6 (2001)

Television broadcast stations

1 (plus 36 repeaters) (2001)

Internet country code


Internet hosts 102/232

38,392 (2012)

Internet users 31/217

total: 17 million

percent of population: 73.5% (2014 est.)


Airports 65/236

83 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 26

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 6

914 to 1,523 m: 16

under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 57

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 38

under 914 m: 18 (2013)

Railways 97/136

total: 836 km

narrow gauge: 836 km 1.000-m gauge (2014)

Roadways 92/223

total: 37,476 km

paved: 6,103 km

unpaved: 31,373 km (2010)

Waterways 79/107

600 km (432 km navigable) (2011)

Merchant marine 152/156

total: 1

by type: cargo 1

registered in other countries: 1 (unknown 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Antsiranana (Diego Suarez), Mahajanga, Toamasina, Toliara (Tulear)

Military and Security

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 is 18 months for military or equivalent civil service; 20-30 years of age for National Gendarmerie recruits and 35 years of age for those with military experience (2012)

Military expenditures 119/132

0.69% of GDP (2012)

0.73% of GDP (2011)

0.69% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

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)

Refugees and internally displaced persons

IDPs: 21,475 (floods in 2015) (2015)

Illicit drugs

illicit producer of cannabis (cultivated and wild varieties) used mostly for domestic consumption; transshipment point for heroin