[Country map of Madagascar]



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

Map references: Africa

total area: 587,040 sq km
land area: 581,540 sq km
comparative area: 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

International disputes: claims Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, and Tromelin Island (all administered by France)

Climate: tropical along coast, temperate inland, arid in south

Terrain: narrow coastal plain, high plateau and mountains in center

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

Land use:
arable land: 4%
permanent crops: 1%
meadows and pastures: 58%
forest and woodland: 26%
other: 11%

Irrigated land: 9,000 sq km (1989 est.)

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
natural hazards: periodic cyclones
international agreements: party to - Endangered Species, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Law of the Sea

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


Population: 13,862,325 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 47% (female 3,231,647; male 3,265,715)
15-64 years: 50% (female 3,511,699; male 3,413,564)
65 years and over: 3% (female 225,205; male 214,495) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.18% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 44.82 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 12.99 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 86.9 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 54.45 years
male: 52.47 years
female: 56.48 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 6.62 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Malagasy (singular and plural)
adjective: Malagasy

Ethnic divisions: 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)

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1990 est.)
total population: 80%
male: 88%
female: 73%

Labor force:
total workers: 4.9 million
workers not receiving money wages: 4.7 million (96% of total labor force); note - 4.3 million workers are in subsistence agriculture
wage earners: 175,000 (3.6% of total work force)
wage earners 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.)


conventional long form: Republic of Madagascar
conventional short form: Madagascar
local long form: Republique de Madagascar
local short form: Madagascar
former: Malagasy Republic

Digraph: MA

Type: republic

Capital: Antananarivo

Administrative divisions: 6 provinces; 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: President Albert ZAFY (since 9 March 1993); election last held on 10 February 1993 (next to be held 1998); results - Albert ZAFY (UNDD), 67%; Didier RATSIRAKA (AREMA), 33%
head of government: Prime Minister Francisque RAVONY (since 9 August 1993)
cabinet: Council of Ministers; appointed by the prime minister

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament
Senate (Senat): two-thirds of upper house seats are to be filled from popularly elected regional assemblies; the remaining third is to be filled by presidential appointment; decentralization and formation of regional assemblies is not expected before 1997
National Assembly (Assemblee Nationale): elections last held on 16 June 1993 (next to be held June 1997); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (138 total) CFV coalition 76, PMDM/MFM 16, CSCD 11, Famima 10, RPSD 7, various pro-Ratsiraka groups 10, others 8

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Cour Supreme), High Constitutional Court (Haute Cour Constitutionnelle)

Political parties and leaders: Committee of Living Forces (CFV), an alliance of National Union for Development and Democracy (UNDD), Support Group for Democracy and Development in Madagascar (CSDDM), Action and Reflection Group for the Development of Madagascar (GRAD), Congress Party for Madagascar Independence - Renewal (AKFM-Fanavaozana), and some 12 other parties, trade unions, and religious groups; Militant Party for the Development of Madagascar (PMDM/MFM), formerly the Movement for Proletarian Power, Manandafy RAKOTONIRINA; Confederation of Civil Societies for Development (CSCD), Guy Willy RAZANAMASY; Association of United Malagasys (Famima); Rally for Social Democracy (RPSD), Pierre TSIRANANA

Other political or pressure groups: National Council of Christian Churches (FFKM); Federalist Movement


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

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador Dennis P. BARRETT
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) 345-39

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


Overview: Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world, suffering from chronic malnutrition, underfunded health and education facilities, a 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 over 30% of GDP and contributing more than 70% of total export earnings. Industry is largely confined to the processing of agricultural products and textile manufacturing; in 1991 it accounted for only 13% of GDP. In 1986 the government introduced a five-year development plan that stressed self-sufficiency in food (mainly rice) by 1990, increased production for exports, and reduced energy imports. Subsequently, growth in output has been held back because of protracted antigovernment strikes and demonstrations for political reform. Since 1993, corruption and political instability have caused the economy and infrastructure to decay further. Since April 1994, the government commitment to economic reforms has been erratic. Enormous obstacles stand in the way of Madagascar's realizing its considerable growth potential.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $10.6 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 2.8% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $790 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 35% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $250 million
expenditures: $265 million, including capital expenditures of $180 million (1991 est.)

Exports: $240 million (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
commodities: coffee 45%, vanilla 20%, cloves 11%, shellfish, sugar, petroleum products
partners: France, US, Germany, Japan, Russia

Imports: $510 million (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
commodities: intermediate manufactures 30%, capital goods 28%, petroleum 15%, consumer goods 14%, food 13%
partners: France, Germany, Japan, UK, Italy, Netherlands

External debt: $4.3 billion (1993 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate 3.8% (1993 est.); accounts for 13% of GDP

capacity: 220,000 kW
production: 560 million kWh
consumption per capita: 40 kWh (1993)

Industries: agricultural processing (meat canneries, soap factories, breweries, tanneries, sugar refining plants), light consumer goods industries (textiles, glassware), cement, automobile assembly plant, paper, petroleum

Agriculture: accounts for 31% of GDP; cash crops - coffee, vanilla, sugarcane, cloves, cocoa; food crops - rice, cassava, beans, bananas, peanuts; cattle raising widespread; almost self-sufficient in rice

Illicit drugs: illicit producer of cannabis (cultivated and wild varieties) used mostly for domestic consumption

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $136 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $3.125 billion; Communist countries (1970-89), $491 million

Currency: 1 Malagasy franc (FMG) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Malagasy francs (FMG) per US$1 - 3,718.0 (November 1994), 1,913.8 (1993), 1,864.0 (1992), 1,835.4 (1991), 1,454.6 (December 1990)

Fiscal year: calendar year


total: 1,020 km
narrow gauge: 1,020 km 1.000-m gauge

total: 40,000 km
paved: 4,694 km
unpaved: gravel, crushed stone, stabilized earth 811 km; other earth 34,495 km (est.)

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

Ports: Antsiranana, Mahajanga, Port Saint-Louis, Toamasina, Toliaria

Merchant marine:
total: 10 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 20,261 GRT/28,193 DWT
ships by type: cargo 5, chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas tanker 1, oil tanker 1, roll-on/roll-off cargo 2

total: 138
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 21
with paved runways under 914 m: 42
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 5
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 64


Telephone system: NA telephones; above average system
local: NA
intercity: open-wire lines, coaxial cables, microwave radio relay, and tropospheric scatter links
international: submarine cable to Bahrain; 1 earth station for Indian Ocean INTELSAT

broadcast stations: AM 17, FM 3, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 1 (repeaters 36)
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: Popular Armed Forces (includes Intervention Forces, Development Forces, Aeronaval Forces - includes Navy and Air Force), Gendarmerie, Presidential Security Regiment

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 3,027,156; males fit for military service 1,800,127; males reach military age (20) annually 130,071 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $35 million, 1.3% of GDP (1991)