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Madagascar Historical and Political Profile

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Madagascar Index

  • Madagascar-Precolonial Era, Prior to 1894
  • Madagascar-Penal System
  • Madagascar-Public Health
  • Madagascar-Structural Adjustment
  • Madagascar-The Third Republic, 1993
  • Madagascar -Chapter 1 - Madagascar
  • Madagascar-Security Concerns MAURITIUS
  • Madagascar-ECONOMY
  • Madagascar-State Security Services
  • Madagascar-Foreword
  • Madagascar-Minorities
  • Madagascar-Human Rights
  • Madagascar-Population and Ethnicity SOCIETY
  • Madagascar-Human Rights
  • Madagascar-Independence, the First Republic, and the Military Transition, 1960-75
  • Madagascar-Penal System
  • Madagascar-National Accounts and Budget
  • Madagascar-Education
  • Madagascar-Agricultural Production
  • Madagascar-Traditional Beliefs and Religion
  • Madagascar-Foreign Trade
  • Madagascar-SOCIETY
  • Madagascar-Armed Forces in National Life
  • Madagascar-Security Concerns MALDIVES
  • Madagascar-Security Concerns SEYCHELLES
  • Madagascar-Language
  • Madagascar-Human Rights
  • Madagascar-Colonial Era, 1894-1960
  • Madagascar-Foreign Military Assistance
  • Madagascar-Traditional Agriculture
  • Madagascar-Human Rights
  • Madagascar-Transportation and Telecommunications
  • Madagascar-Introducation
  • Madagascar-Balance of Payments and Debt
  • Madagascar-Climate
  • Madagascar-INDIAN OCEAN -- Madagascar
  • Madagascar-The Military and the Government
  • Madagascar-Seychelles People's Defense Forces
  • Madagascar-Training and Morale
  • Madagascar-Penal System
  • Madagascar-Armed Forces in National Life
  • Madagascar-Forces Armées Populaires
  • Madagascar-Armed Forces in National Life
  • Madagascar-Penal System
  • Madagascar-State Security Services
  • Madagascar-Penal System
  • Madagascar-Armed Forces in National Life
  • Madagascar-Constitution and Institutions of Governance GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
  • Madagascar-Government Policy and Intervention THE ECONOMY
  • Madagascar-The Second Republic, 1975-92
  • Madagascar-The Fokonolona and Traditional Governance
  • Madagascar-Industrial Development
  • Madagascar-Special Mobile Force
  • Madagascar-Security Concerns COMOROS
  • Madagascar-The Military and the Government
  • Madagascar-Peoples of the Tsaratamana Massif and the Southwest
  • Madagascar-Peoples of the Central Highlands
  • Madagascar-Acknowledgments
  • Madagascar-Social Structure and Family
  • Madagascar-Training and Morale
  • Madagascar-Foreign Relations
  • Madagascar
  • Madagascar-State Security Services
  • Madagascar-Chapter 6 - Strategic Considerations
  • Madagascar-Foreign Military Assistance
  • Madagascar-Flora and Fauna
  • Madagascar-Human Rights
  • Madagascar-Foreign Military Assistance
  • Madagascar-Armed Forces
  • Madagascar
  • Madagascar
  • Madagascar-Foreign Military Assistance
  • Madagascar-Peoples of the East Coast
  • Madagascar
  • BackgroundFormerly 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 elections of 2006. In early 2009, protests due to increasing restrictions on opposition press and activities resulted in RAVALOMANANA stepping down and the presidency was conferred to the mayor of Antananarivo, Andry RAJOELINA. Following negotiations in July and August of 2009, a power-sharing agreement with a 15-month transitional period was established, but has not yet been implemented.
    LocationSouthern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Mozambique
    Area(sq km)total: 587,041 sq km
    land: 581,540 sq km
    water: 5,501 sq km
    Geographic coordinates20 00 S, 47 00 E
    Land boundaries(km)0 km

    Coastline(km)4,828 km

    Climatetropical along coast, temperate inland, arid in south

    Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Maromokotro 2,876 m
    Natural resourcesgraphite, chromite, coal, bauxite, salt, quartz, tar sands, semiprecious stones, mica, fish, hydropower
    Land use(%)arable land: 5.03%
    permanent crops: 1.02%
    other: 93.95% (2005)

    Irrigated land(sq km)10,860 sq km (2003)
    Total renewable water resources(cu km)337 cu km (1984)
    Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 14.96 cu km/yr (3%/2%/96%)
    per capita: 804 cu m/yr (2000)
    Natural hazardsperiodic cyclones; drought; and locust infestation
    Environment - current issuessoil 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 agreementsparty 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 - noteworld's fourth-largest island; strategic location along Mozambique Channel
    Population20,653,556 (July 2009 est.)
    Age structure(%)0-14 years: 43.5% (male 4,523,033/female 4,460,473)
    15-64 years: 53.5% (male 5,483,684/female 5,557,098)
    65 years and over: 3% (male 280,677/female 348,591) (2009 est.)
    Median age(years)total: 18 years
    male: 17.8 years
    female: 18.2 years (2009 est.)
    Population growth rate(%)3% (2009 est.)
    Birth rate(births/1,000 population)38.14 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
    Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)8.14 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

    Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)NA (2009 est.)
    Urbanization(%)urban population: 29% of total population (2008)
    rate of urbanization: 3.8% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
    Sex ratio(male(s)/female)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: 0.8 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
    Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 54.2 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 59.12 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 49.13 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

    Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 62.89 years
    male: 60.93 years
    female: 64.91 years (2009 est.)

    Total fertility rate(children born/woman)5.14 children born/woman (2009 est.)
    Nationalitynoun: 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

    Religions(%)indigenous beliefs 52%, Christian 41%, Muslim 7%
    Languages(%)English (official), French (official), Malagasy (official)

    Country nameconventional 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
    Government typerepublic
    Capitalname: Antananarivo
    geographic coordinates: 18 55 S, 47 31 E
    time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    Administrative divisions6 provinces (faritany); Antananarivo, Antsiranana, Fianarantsoa, Mahajanga, Toamasina, Toliara
    Constitutionpassed by referendum 19 August 1992

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

    Suffrage18 years of age; universal
    Executive branchchief of state: President Andry RAJOELINA (since 18 March 2009)
    head of government: Prime Minister Albert Camille VITAL (since 18 December 2009)
    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 October 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%; note - RAVALOMANANA stepped down on 17 March 2009
    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, who will head the High Transition Authority; a power-sharing agreement reached in August 2009 established a 15-month transition period, concluding in general elections in 2010; as of December 2009 the agreement had not been fully implemented
    Legislative branchbicameral legislature consists of 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) and 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)
    elections: National Assembly - last held 23 September 2007 (next to be held in late 2010); note - a power-sharing agreement in the summer of 2009 established a 15-month transition, concluding in general elections
    election results: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - TIM 106, LEADER/Fanilo 1, independents 20

    Judicial branchSupreme Court or Cour Supreme; High Constitutional Court or Haute Cour Constitutionnelle

    Political pressure groups and leadersCommittee for the Defense of Truth and Justice or KMMR; Committee for National Reconciliation or CRN [Albert Zafy]; National Council of Christian Churches or FFKM
    Flag descriptiontwo equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green with a vertical white band of the same width on hoist side

    Economy - overviewHaving 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.
    GDP (purchasing power parity)$20.18 billion (2008 est.)
    $18.86 billion (2007 est.)
    $17.76 billion (2006 est.)
    note: data are in 2008 US dollars
    GDP (official exchange rate)$9.463 billion (2008 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate(%)7% (2008 est.)
    6.2% (2007 est.)
    5% (2006 est.)
    GDP - per capita (PPP)$1,000 (2008 est.)
    $1,000 (2007 est.)
    $900 (2006 est.)
    note: data are in 2008 US dollars
    GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 26.2%
    industry: 15.2%
    services: 58.5% (2008 est.)
    Labor force9.504 million (2007)

    Population below poverty line(%)50% (2004 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: 2.6%
    highest 10%: 41.5% (2005)
    Distribution of family income - Gini index47.5 (2001)
    38.1 (1999)
    Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)26.6% of GDP (2008 est.)
    Budgetrevenues: $1.612 billion
    expenditures: $2.05 billion (2008 est.)
    Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)9.2% (2008 est.)
    10.3% (2007 est.)

    Stock of money$1.217 billion (31 December 2008)
    $1.161 billion (31 December 2007)
    Stock of quasi money$667.2 million (31 December 2008)
    $577.4 million (31 December 2007)
    Stock of domestic credit$820.3 million (31 December 2008)
    $767.5 million (31 December 2007)
    Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
    Economic aid - recipient$929.2 million (2005)

    Agriculture - productscoffee, vanilla, sugarcane, cloves, cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), beans, bananas, peanuts; livestock products
    Industriesmeat processing, seafood, soap, breweries, tanneries, sugar, textiles, glassware, cement, automobile assembly plant, paper, petroleum, tourism

    Industrial production growth rate(%)3% (2008 est.)

    Current account balance-$1.03 billion (2008 est.)
    -$807 million (2007 est.)
    Exports$1.254 billion (2008 est.)
    $1.095 billion (2007 est.)

    Exports - commodities(%)coffee, vanilla, shellfish, sugar, cotton cloth, chromite, petroleum products
    Exports - partners(%)France 38.9%, US 20.3%, Germany 5% (2008)
    Imports$2.419 billion (2008 est.)
    $1.944 billion (2007 est.)

    Imports - commodities(%)capital goods, petroleum, consumer goods, food
    Imports - partners(%)China 20.1%, Bahrain 8.7%, France 6.3%, South Africa 5.7%, US 4.9%, India 4.4% (2008)

    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$982.3 million (31 December 2008 est.)
    $846.7 million (31 December 2007 est.)
    Debt - external$2.023 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
    $4.6 billion (2002)

    Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$NA
    Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$NA
    Exchange ratesMalagasy ariary (MGA) per US dollar - 1,654.78 (2008 est.), 1,880 (2007), 2,161.4 (2006), 2,003 (2005), 1,868.9 (2004)

    Currency (code)ariary (MGA)

    Telephones - main lines in use164,900 (2008)
    Telephones - mobile cellular4.835 million (2008)
    Telephone systemgeneral 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 new fixed lines since 2005
    domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile telephone density about 25 per 100 persons
    international: country code - 261; submarine cable to Bahrain; satellite earth stations - 2 (1 Intelsat - Indian Ocean, 1 Intersputnik - Atlantic Ocean region) (2008)
    Internet country code.mg
    Internet users316,100 (2008)
    Airports89 (2009)
    Roadways(km)total: 65,663 km
    paved: 7,617 km
    unpaved: 58,046 km (2003)

    Ports and terminalsAntsiranana, Mahajanga, Toamasina, Toliara
    Military branchesPeople's Armed Forces: Intervention Force, Development Force, and Aeronaval Force (navy and air); National Gendarmerie
    Military service age and obligation(years of age)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 servicemales age 16-49: 4,443,341
    females age 16-49: 4,441,124 (2008 est.)
    Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 3,150,043
    females age 16-49: 3,404,988 (2009 est.)
    Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 236,500
    female: 235,994 (2009 est.)
    Military expenditures(% of GDP)1% of GDP (2006)
    Disputes - internationalclaims Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, and Juan de Nova Island (all administered by France)

    Electricity - production(kWh)1.045 billion kWh (2007 est.)
    Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 36.1%
    hydro: 63.9%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (2001)
    Electricity - consumption(kWh)971.4 million kWh (2007 est.)
    Electricity - exports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
    Electricity - imports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
    Oil - production(bbl/day)84.57 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - consumption(bbl/day)20,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - exports(bbl/day)364.9 bbl/day (2007 est.)
    Oil - imports(bbl/day)16,940 bbl/day (2007 est.)
    Oil - proved reserves(bbl)0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
    Natural gas - production(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - consumption(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
    Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)0.1% (2007 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS14,000 (2007 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - deathsfewer than 1,000 (2007 est.)
    Major infectious diseasesdegree 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 (2009)
    Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 68.9%
    male: 75.5%
    female: 62.5% (2003 est.)

    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 9 years
    male: 10 years
    female: 9 years (2006)
    Education expenditures(% of GDP)3.1% of GDP (2006)

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