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By Location > Visit Detail > Country Facts for Madagascar
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Map of Madagascar
IntroductionTop
Background:Formerly an independent kingdom, Madagascar became a French colony in 1896, 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.
GeographyTop
Location:Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Mozambique
Geographic coordinates:20 00 S, 47 00 E
Map references:Africa
Area:total: 587,040 sq km
land: 581,540 sq km
water: 5,500 sq km

Area - comparative:slightly less than twice the size of Arizona
Land boundaries: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 deep isobath

Climate:tropical along coast, temperate inland, arid in south
Terrain: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: 5.07%
permanent crops: 1.03%
other: 93.91% (2001)

Irrigated land:10,900 sq km (2000 est.)
Natural hazards:periodic cyclones, drought, and locust infestation
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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, 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
PeopleTop
Population:18,040,341 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 44.8% (male 4,051,832/female 4,038,837)
15-64 years: 52.1% (male 4,657,346/female 4,745,971)
65 years and over: 3% (male 247,146/female 299,209) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 17.46 years
male: 17.24 years
female: 17.67 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:3.03% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:41.66 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:11.35 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 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: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 76.83 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 85.05 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 68.36 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 56.95 years
male: 54.57 years
female: 59.4 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:5.66 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:1.7% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:140,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:7,500 (2003 est.)
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
Religions:indigenous beliefs 52%, Christian 41%, Muslim 7%
Languages:French (official), Malagasy (official)
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 68.9%
male: 75.5%
female: 62.5% (2003 est.)

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

Government type:republic
Capital:Antananarivo
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: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 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 November 2006); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: percent of vote - Didier RATSIRAKA (AREMA) 37.7%, Marc RAVALOMANANA (TIM) 50.5%

Legislative branch:bicameral legislature consists of a National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (160 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and a Senate or Senat (100 seats; two-thirds of the seats filled by regional assemblies whose members will be elected by popular vote; the remaining one-third of the seats appointed by the president; 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, others 3, independents 22

Judicial branch:Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; High Constitutional Court or Haute Cour Constitutionnelle
Political parties and leaders:Association for the Rebirth of Madagascar or AREMA [Pierrot RAJAONARIVO]; Economic Liberalism and Democratic Action for National Recovery or LEADER/Fanilo [Herizo RAZAFIMAHALEO]; Fihaonana Party or FP [Guy-Willy RAZANAMASY]; I Love Madagascar or TIM [Marc RAVALOMANANA]; Renewal of the Social Democratic Party or RPSD [Evariste MARSON]
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:ABEDA, ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AU, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, InOC, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Flag description:two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green with a vertical white band of the same width on hoist side
EconomyTop
Economy - overview:Having 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 has 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 United States. 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 - $14.56 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:5.5% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $800 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 29.3%
industry: 16.7%
services: 54% (2004 est.)

Labor force:7.3 million (2000)
Population below poverty line:50% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 29% (1999)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:38.1 (1999)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):7.5% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):14.7% of GDP (2004 est.)
Budget:revenues: $783.7 million
expenditures: $1.079 billion, including capital expenditures of $331 million (2004 est.)

Agriculture - products:coffee, vanilla, sugarcane, cloves, cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), beans, bananas, peanuts; livestock products
Industries:meat processing, soap, breweries, tanneries, sugar, textiles, glassware, cement, automobile assembly plant, paper, petroleum, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:3% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production:840.2 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 36.1%
hydro: 63.9%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:781.4 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:13,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:NA
Oil - imports:NA
Oil - proved reserves:0 bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - proved reserves:0 cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance:$-281.9 million (2004 est.)
Exports:$868.2 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:coffee, vanilla, shellfish, sugar; cotton cloth, chromite, petroleum products
Exports - partners:US 35.7%, France 30.7%, Germany 7.1%, Mauritius 4.4% (2004)
Imports:$1.147 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:capital goods, petroleum, consumer goods, food
Imports - partners:France 17.6%, China 11.1%, Hong Kong 6.7%, Iran 6.2%, South Africa 5.8% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$500.3 million (2004 est.)
Debt - external:$4.6 billion (2002)
Currency (code):Madagascar ariary (MGA)
Currency code:MGF
Exchange rates:Malagasy francs per US dollar - 1,868.9 (2004), 1,238.3 (2003), 1,366.4 (2002), 1,317.7 (2001), 1,353.5 (2000)
Fiscal year:calendar year
CommunicationsTop
Telephones - main lines in use:59,600 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:279,500 (2003)
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: country code - 261; 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)
Radios:3.05 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:1 (plus 36 repeaters) (2001)
Televisions:325,000 (1997)
Internet country code:.mg
Internet hosts:773 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):2 (2000)
Internet users:70,500 (2003)
TransportationTop
Railways:total: 732 km
narrow gauge: 732 km 1.000-m gauge (2004)

Highways:total: 49,827 km
paved: 5,780 km
unpaved: 44,047 km (1999 est.)

Waterways:600 km (2004)
Ports and harbors:Antsiranana, Mahajanga, Toamasina, Toliara
Merchant marine:total: 9 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 14,865 GRT/17,936 DWT
by type: cargo 5, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 2
registered in other countries: 1 (2005)

Airports:116 (2004 est.)
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 (2004 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 87
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 42
under 914 m: 43 (2004 est.)

MilitaryTop
Military branches:People's Armed Forces: Intervention Force, Development Force, and Aeronaval (Navy and Air) Force; National Gendarmerie
Military manpower - military age and obligation:18 years of age (est.); conscript service obligation - 18 months (2004)
Military manpower - availability:males age 18-49: 3,542,797 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:males age 18-49: 2,218,662 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:males: 187,000 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:$44.6 million (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:1.2% (2004)
Transnational IssuesTop
Disputes - international:claims Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, and Juan de Nova Island (all administered by France)
Illicit drugs:illicit producer of cannabis (cultivated and wild varieties) used mostly for domestic consumption; transshipment point for heroin



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