Photos of Madagascar

Introduction

Background

Madagascar was one of the last major habitable landmasses on earth settled by humans. While there is some evidence of human presence on the island in the millennia B.C., large-scale settlement began between A.D. 350 and 550 with settlers from present-day Indonesia. The island attracted Arab and Persian traders as early as the 7th century, and migrants from Africa arrived around A.D. 1000. Madagascar was a pirate stronghold during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and served as a slave trading center into the 19th century. From the 16th to the late 19th century, a native Merina Kingdom dominated much of Madagascar. The island was conquered by the French in 1896 who made it a colony; independence was regained 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, 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 2002, the High Constitutional Court announced RAVALOMANANA the winner. RAVALOMANANA won a second term in 2006 but, following protests in 2009, handed 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. In January 2019, RAJOELINA was declared the winner of a runoff election against RAVALOMANANA; both RATSIRAKA and RAJAONARIMAMPIANINA also ran in the first round of the election, which took place in November 2018.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

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

Geographic coordinates

20 00 S, 47 00 E

Area

total: 587,041 sq km

land: 581,540 sq km

water: 5,501 sq km

comparison ranking: total 49

Area - comparative

almost four times the size of Georgia; slightly less than twice the size of Arizona

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 0 km

Coastline

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

Climate

tropical along coast, temperate inland, arid in south

Terrain

narrow coastal plain, high plateau and mountains in center

Elevation

highest point: Maromokotro 2,876 m

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m

mean elevation: 615 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% (2018 est.)

arable land: 6% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 64.1% (2018 est.)

forest: 21.5% (2018 est.)

other: 7.4% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

10,860 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

most of population lives on the eastern half of the island; significant clustering is found in the central highlands and eastern coastline as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

periodic cyclones; drought; and locust infestation

volcanism: Madagascar's volcanoes have not erupted in historical times

Geography - note

world's fourth-largest island; strategic location along Mozambique Channel; despite Madagascar’s close proximity to the African continent, ocean currents isolate the island resulting in high rates of endemic plant and animal species; approximately 90% of the flora and fauna on the island are found nowhere else

People and Society

Population

28,812,195 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 53

Nationality

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

Languages

Malagasy (official) 99.9%, French (official) 23.6%, English 8.2%, other 0.6% (2018 est.)

note: shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census

Religions

Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar/Malagasy Lutheran Church/Anglican Church 34%, Roman Catholic 32.3%, other Christian 8.1%, traditional/Animist 1.7%, Muslim 1.4%, other 0.6%, none 21.9% (2021 est.)

Demographic profile

Madagascar’s youthful population – nearly 60% are under the age of 25 as of 2020 – and moderately high total fertility rate of more than 3.6 children per woman ensures that the Malagasy population will continue its rapid growth trajectory for the foreseeable future. The population is predominantly rural and poor; chronic malnutrition is prevalent, and large families are the norm. Many young Malagasy girls are withdrawn from school, marry early (often pressured to do so by their parents), and soon begin having children. Early childbearing, coupled with Madagascar’s widespread poverty and lack of access to skilled health care providers during delivery, increases the risk of death and serious health problems for young mothers and their babies.

Child marriage perpetuates gender inequality and is prevalent among the poor, the uneducated, and rural households – as of 2018, 40% of Malagasy women aged 20 to 24 were married. Although the legal age for marriage is 18, parental consent is often given for earlier marriages or the law is flouted, especially in rural areas that make up approximately 60% of the country. Forms of arranged marriage whereby young girls are married to older men in exchange for oxen or money are traditional. If a union does not work out, a girl can be placed in another marriage, but the dowry paid to her family diminishes with each unsuccessful marriage.

Madagascar’s population consists of 18 main ethnic groups, all of whom speak the same Malagasy language. Most Malagasy are multi-ethnic, however, reflecting the island’s diversity of settlers and historical contacts (see Background). Madagascar’s legacy of hierarchical societies practicing domestic slavery (most notably the Merina Kingdom of the 16th to the 19th century) is evident today in persistent class tension, with some ethnic groups maintaining a caste system. Slave descendants are vulnerable to unequal access to education and jobs, despite Madagascar’s constitutional guarantee of free compulsory primary education and its being party to several international conventions on human rights. Historical distinctions also remain between central highlanders and coastal people.

Age structure

0-14 years: 37.47% (male 5,451,018/female 5,343,865)

15-64 years: 58.72% (male 8,481,873/female 8,437,644)

65 years and over: 3.81% (2023 est.) (male 506,495/female 591,300)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 74.5

youth dependency ratio: 68.8

elderly dependency ratio: 5.8

potential support ratio: 17.4 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 21 years (2023 est.)

male: 20.9 years

female: 21.2 years

comparison ranking: total 193

Population growth rate

2.22% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 35

Birth rate

28.1 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 33

Death rate

5.9 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 160

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 87

Population distribution

most of population lives on the eastern half of the island; significant clustering is found in the central highlands and eastern coastline as shown in this population distribution map

Urbanization

urban population: 40.6% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 4.26% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

3.872 million ANTANANARIVO (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

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

15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

19.5 years (2021 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 25-29

Maternal mortality ratio

392 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 24

Infant mortality rate

total: 38.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 41.6 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 34.8 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 32

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 68.5 years (2023 est.)

male: 67.1 years

female: 69.9 years

comparison ranking: total population 186

Total fertility rate

3.55 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 34

Gross reproduction rate

1.75 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 85% of population

rural: 38% of population

total: 56.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 15% of population

rural: 62% of population

total: 43.9% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

3.9% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

0.2 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

0.2 beds/1,000 population

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 49.2% of population

rural: 22.1% of population

total: 32.6% of population

unimproved: urban: 50.8% of population

rural: 77.9% of population

total: 67.4% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

note: on 31 August 2023, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Africa; Madagascar is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

5.3% (2016)

comparison ranking: 181

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 0.89 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.5 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.07 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.32 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 155

Tobacco use

total: 27.8% (2020 est.)

male: 42.7% (2020 est.)

female: 12.8% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 38

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

22.6% (2021)

comparison ranking: 9

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 12.7%

women married by age 18: 38.8%

men married by age 18: 11.2% (2021 est.)

Education expenditures

3.1% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 157

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 77.3%

male: 78.8%

female: 75.8% (2021)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 10 years

male: 10 years

female: 10 years (2018)

Environment

Environment - current issues

erosion and soil degredation results from deforestation and overgrazing; desertification; agricultural fires; surface water contaminated with raw sewage and other organic wastes; wildlife preservation (endangered species of flora and fauna unique to the island)

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Climate

tropical along coast, temperate inland, arid in south

Land use

agricultural land: 71.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 6% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 64.1% (2018 est.)

forest: 21.5% (2018 est.)

other: 7.4% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 40.6% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 4.26% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Food insecurity

severe localized food insecurity: due to the effects of extreme weather events and slow economic recovery - according to the latest May 2022 analysis, the prevalence of food insecurity in the southern regions is projected to peak at 2.1 million people by December 2022 until at least March 2023; overall, the number of people requiring humanitarian assistance by the end of 2022 is expected to be about 30 percent higher compared to the peak number in 2021; the poor food security situation is mainly the consequence of six consecutive poor agricultural seasons that culminated in very tight food supplies for rural households and curbed incomes from crop sales; high rates of poverty and increased prices of essential food commodities, combined with a high reliance on market supplies due to low harvests for own consumption, are also contributing to the high rates of food insecurity across the southern regions (2022)

Revenue from forest resources

4.34% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 17

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 155

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 16.02 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 3.91 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 10.14 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 3,768,759 tons (2016 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 400 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 160 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 13 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

337 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

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

etymology: 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

semi-presidential republic

Capital

name: Antananarivo

geographic coordinates: 18 55 S, 47 31 E

time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the name, which means "City of the Thousand," was bestowed by 17th century King ADRIANJAKAKING to honor the soldiers assigned to guard the city

Administrative divisions

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

Independence

26 June 1960 (from France)

National holiday

Independence Day, 26 June (1960)

Constitution

history: previous 1992; latest passed by referendum 17 November 2010, promulgated 11 December 2010

amendments: proposed by the president of the republic in consultation with the cabinet or supported by a least two thirds of both the Senate and National Assembly membership; passage requires at least three-fourths approval of both the Senate and National Assembly and approval in a referendum; constitutional articles, including the form and powers of government, the sovereignty of the state, and the autonomy of Madagascar’s collectivities, cannot be amended

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

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

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Andry RAJOELINA (since 21 January 2019)

head of government: Prime Minister Christian NTSAY (since 6 June 2018)

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 16 November 2023 (next to be held in November 2028); prime minister nominated by the National Assembly, appointed by the president

election results:
2023
: Andry RAJOELINA reelected president in first round; percent of vote - Andry RAJOELINA (TGV) 59.0%, Siteny Thierry RANDRIANASOLONIAIKO 14.3%, Marc RAVALOMANANA (TIM) 12.1%

2018
: Andry RAJOELINA elected president in second round; percent of vote in first round - Andry RAJOELINA (TGV) 39.2%, Marc RAVALOMANANA (TIM) 35.4%, other 25.4%; percent of vote in second round - Andry RAJOELINA 55.7%, Marc RAVALOMANANA 44.3%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
Senate or Antenimierandoholona  (18 seats; 12 members indirectly elected by an electoral college of municipal, communal, regional, and provincial leaders and 6 appointed by the president; members serve 5-year terms)
National Assembly or Antenimierampirenena (151 seats; 87 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 64 directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by closed-list proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: Senate - last held on 11 December 2020 (next to be held in December 2025)
National Assembly - last held on 27 May 2019 (next to be held in May 2024)

election results:
2020: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; elected seats by party - Irmar 10, Malagasy Miara Miainga 2; composition - men 16, women 2, percent of women 11.1%

2019: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - TGV 30.9%, TIM 9.7%, MATITA 1.1%, MTS 0.4%, GJMP 0.3%, MDM 0.2%, RPSD Vaovao 0.1%, Independents 50%, Other 7.3%; composition - men 123, women 28, percent of women 18.5%; note - total Parliament percent of women 17.8%

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); High Court of Justice (consists of 11 members; addresses cases brought against the president of Madagascar and high officials for high treason, grave violations of the Constitution, or breach of  duties incompatible with the exercise of the presidential mandate)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court heads elected by the president and judiciary officials to serve 3-year, single renewable terms; High Constitutional Court members appointed - 3 each by the president, by both legislative bodies, and by the Council of Magistrates; members serve single, 7-year terms; High Court of Justice members include: first president of the Supreme Court; 2 presidents from the Court of Cassation; 2 presidents from the Court of Appeal; 2 deputies  from the National Assembly; 2 senators from the Senate; 2 members from the High Council for the Defense of Democracy and the State of law

subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Court of Cassation; Courts of First Instance; military courts; traditional (dina) courts; Trade Court

Political parties and leaders

Group of Young Malagasy Patriots (Groupe des Jeunes Malgaches Patriotes) or GJMP
I Love Madagascar (Tiako I Madagasikara) or TIM [Marc RAVALOMANANA]
Malagasy Aware (Malagasy Tonga Saina) or MTS [Roland RATSIRAKA]
Malagasy Tia Tanindrazana or MATITA or ANGADY [Hyacinthe Befeno TODIMANANA]
Movement for Democracy in Madagascar (Mouvement pour la Démocratie à Madagascar) or MDM [Pierrot RAJAONARIVELO]
Rally for Democratic Socialism (Rassemblement pour Socialisme Démocratique - Nauveau) or RPSD Vaovao [Evariste MARSON]
Young Malagasies Determined (Tanora Malagasy Vonona) or TGV [Andry RAJOELINA]

Note: Only parties with seats in the National Assembly included

International organization participation

ACP, AfDB, AU, CD, COMESA, EITI (candidate country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d'Affaires Amielle Pelenne NIRINIAVISOA MARCEDA (since 31 October 2019)

chancery: 2374 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 265-5525

FAX: [1] (202) 265-3034

email address and website:
contact@us-madagascar-embassy.org

https://us-madagascar-embassy.org/

consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Claire PIERANGELO (since 2 May 2022)

embassy: Lot 207A, Andranoro, Antehiroka, 105 Antananarivo - Madagascar

mailing address: 2040 Antananarivo Place, Washington  DC 20521-2040

telephone: [261] 33-44-320-00

FAX: [261] 33-44-320-35

email address and website:
antanACS@state.gov

https://mg.usembassy.gov/

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

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 3 (1 cultural, 2 natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve (n); Ambohimanga Royal Hill (c); Atsinanana Rainforests  (n)

Economy

Economic overview

low-income East African island economy; natural resource rich; extreme poverty; return of political stability has helped growth; sharp tax revenue drop due to COVID-19; leading vanilla producer; environmentally fragile

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$42.322 billion (2021 est.)
$40.537 billion (2020 est.)
$43.653 billion (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 119

Real GDP growth rate

4.4% (2021 est.)
-7.14% (2020 est.)
4.41% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 104

Real GDP per capita

$1,500 (2021 est.)
$1,400 (2020 est.)
$1,600 (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 221

GDP (official exchange rate)

$13.964 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

5.81% (2021 est.)
4.2% (2020 est.)
5.61% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 174

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 24% (2017 est.)

industry: 19.5% (2017 est.)

services: 56.4% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 150; industry 153; agriculture 32

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 67.1% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 11.2% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 15.1% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 8.8% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 31.5% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -33.7% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

rice, sugar cane, cassava, sweet potatoes, milk, vegetables, bananas, mangoes/guavas, tropical fruit, potatoes

Industries

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

Industrial production growth rate

-21.56% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 207

Labor force

14.813 million (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 41

Unemployment rate

2.59% (2021 est.)
2.47% (2020 est.)
1.86% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 25

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 4.8% (2021 est.)

male: 5.2%

female: 4.4%

comparison ranking: total 189

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.2%

highest 10%: 34.7% (2010 est.)

Remittances

3.8% of GDP (2020 est.)
2.89% of GDP (2019 est.)
3.09% of GDP (2018 est.)

Budget

revenues: $1.51 billion (2020 est.)

expenditures: $2.09 billion (2020 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-2.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 118

Public debt

36% of GDP (2017 est.)
38.4% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 150

Taxes and other revenues

9.52% (of GDP) (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 195

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$732.252 million (2021 est.)
-$623.149 million (2020 est.)
-$302.357 million (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 129

Exports

$3.341 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$2.589 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$4.082 billion (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 142

Exports - partners

United States 19%, France 18%, United Arab Emirates 7%, China 6%, Japan 6%, Germany 5%, India 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

vanilla, nickel, clothing and apparel, titanium, gold, cloves (2021)

Imports

$4.768 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$3.718 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$4.685 billion (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 146

Imports - partners

China 24%, France 11%, United Arab Emirates 9%, India 7%, South Africa 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, rice, cars, packaged medicines, clothing and apparel (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$2.335 billion (31 December 2021 est.)
$1.981 billion (31 December 2020 est.)
$1.693 billion (31 December 2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 128

Debt - external

$3.085 billion (2019 est.)
$4.107 billion (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 142

Exchange rates

Malagasy ariary (MGA) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
3,829.978 (2021 est.)
3,787.754 (2020 est.)
3,618.322 (2019 est.)
3,334.752 (2018 est.)
3,116.11 (2017 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

population without electricity: 20 million (2020)

electrification - total population: 35.1% (2021)

electrification - urban areas: 72.6% (2021)

electrification - rural areas: 10.9% (2021)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 587,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 1,720,140,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 131 million kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: imports 192; exports 189; installed generating capacity 147; transmission/distribution losses 58; consumption 150

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 59.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 1.1% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 38.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 1% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 107,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 115,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 21,100 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 116

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 141

Refined petroleum products - imports

18,880 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 125

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

4.218 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 1.044 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 3.175 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 140

Energy consumption per capita

2.307 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 186

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 25,761 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: (2021 est.) less than 1

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 170

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 16,279,633 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 56 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 68

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: telecom services in Madagascar have benefited from intensifying competition between the main operators; there have been positive developments with the country’s link to international submarine cables, particularly the METISS cable connecting to South Africa and Mauritius; in addition, the country’s connection to the Africa-1 cable, expected in late 2023, will provide it with links to Kenya, Djibouti, countries in north and south Africa, as well Pakistan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and France; a national fiber backbone has been implemented connecting the major cities; in addition, the government has progressed with its five-year plan to develop a digital platform running to 2024; various schemes within the program have been managed by a unit within the President’s office; penetration rates in all market sectors remain below the average for the African region, and so there remains considerable growth potential; much progress was made in 2020, stimulated by the particular conditions related to the pandemic, which encouraged greater use of voice and data services (2022)

domestic: less than 1 per 100 for fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity about 56 per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 261; landing points for the EASSy, METISS, and LION fiber-optic submarine cable systems connecting to numerous Indian Ocean Islands, South Africa, and Eastern African countries; satellite earth stations - 2 (1 Intelsat - Indian Ocean, 1 Intersputnik - Atlantic Ocean region) (2019)

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 (2019)

Internet users

total: 5.8 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 20% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 83

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 32,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 0.1 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 151

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 4 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 18

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 541,290 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 16.25 million (2018) mt-km

Airports

91 (2024)

comparison ranking: 57

Railways

total: 836 km (2018)

narrow gauge: 836 km (2018) 1.000-m gauge

comparison ranking: total 95

Roadways

total: 31,640 km (2017)

comparison ranking: total 99

Waterways

600 km (2011) (432 km navigable)

comparison ranking: 86

Merchant marine

total: 29 (2023)

by type: general cargo 16, oil tanker 2, other 11

comparison ranking: total 135

Ports and terminals

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

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Madagascar People's Armed Forces (PAF): Army, Navy, Air Force; National Gendarmerie (2024)

note: the National Gendarmerie is separate from the PAF under the Ministry of Defense and is responsible for maintaining law and order in rural areas at the village level, protecting government facilities, and operating a maritime police contingent; the National Police under the Ministry of Security is responsible for maintaining law and order in urban areas

Military expenditures

0.7% of GDP (2023 est.)
0.7% of GDP (2022 est.)
0.7% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.7% of GDP (2020 est.)
0.5% of GDP (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 139

Military and security service personnel strengths

estimated 13,000 personnel (12,000 Army; 500 Navy; 500 Air Force); estimated 10,000 Gendarmerie (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the PAF's inventory consists mostly of aging Soviet-era equipment; in recent years, it has received small amounts of secondhand equipment from France, Japan, South Africa, and the UAE (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-25 years of age for men and women; service obligation 18 months; no conscription; women are permitted to serve in all branches (2023)

Military - note

the PAF’s responsibilities include ensuring sovereignty and territorial integrity and protecting Madagascar’s maritime domain, particularly against piracy, drug trafficking, and smuggling; it also assists the Gendarmerie with maintaining law and order in rural areas, largely in areas affected by banditry, cattle rustling, and criminal groups; the PAF has a history of having influence in domestic politics and a lack of accountability; members of the Army and the Gendarmerie were arrested for coup plotting as recently as 2021; its closest defense partners have been India and Russia; the PAF’s small Navy has traditionally looked to India for assistance with maritime security (2023)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Madagascar-France: claims Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, and Juan de Nova Island (all administered by France; talks with France over the claims have occurred in 1990, 2016, and 2019); the vegetated drying cays of Banc du Geyser, which were claimed by Madagascar in 1976, also fall within the EEZ claim of France

Madagascar-Comoros: the vegetated drying cays of Banc du Geyser, which were claimed by Madagascar in 1976, also fall within the EEZ claim of the Comoros

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List — Madagascar does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so; officials identified and provided services to more victims, launched an updated National Action Plan, took steps to reduce the demand for child sex tourism, and worked with an international organization to monitor Malagasy migrant workers’ conditions in Jordan; however, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts, compared with the previous year, to expand its anti-trafficking capacity; officials investigated fewer trafficking cases and did not report any prosecutions or convictions of suspected traffickers for the second consecutive year; the government did not hold complicit officials accountable nor investigate reports of officials facilitating child sex trafficking within Madagascar or labor trafficking of Malagasy workers abroad; for the third consecutive year, the government did not disburse funds to the National Office to Combat Human Trafficking, hindering nationwide progress and coordination; efforts to address internal crimes, including domestic servitude, forced begging, and child sex trafficking, remained inadequate, and officials continued to conflate human trafficking with other crimes including gender-based violence and sexual exploitation; therefore, Madagascar remained on Tier 2 Watch List for the second consecutive year (2023)

trafficking profile: human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Madagascar, as well as victims from Madagascar abroad; traffickers exploit Malagasy children in child sex trafficking and forced labor in domestic service in homes and businesses, mining, street vending, agriculture, textile factories, and fishing; most child sex trafficking occurs in tourist destinations, urban cities, vanilla-growing regions, and around mining sites with the involvement and encouragement of family members; tourist operators, hotels, taxi drivers, massage parlor owners, and local adults involved in commercial sex also facilitate child sex trafficking; girls and boys as young as 12 are exploited in child sex tourism in coastal areas and major cities, often openly in bars, nightclubs, massage parlors, hotels, and private homes; Malagasy men exploit the majority of child sex trafficking victims, while most foreign sex tourists are French and Italian nationals, or to a lesser extent from other Western European countries and Comoros; government officials are reportedly complicit in providing false documents to facilitate illicit recruitment of Malagasy women to work in Gulf states; many Malagasy women are employed as domestic workers in China, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, where they are at risk of trafficking; traffickers acting as labor recruiters send Malagasy women to China with false identity cards, where they are exploited in forced labor in agriculture or domestic servitude; Malagasy men may be exploited in forced labor in the services and construction industries in the Middle East and domestic servitude in China; Chinese nationals working at China’s Belt and Road Initiative projects in Madagascar were vulnerable to forced labor (2023)

Illicit drugs

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