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Madagascar Country Guide

Explore Madagascar in Africa

Madagascar with the capital city Antananarivo is located in Africa (Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean). It covers some 587,041 square kilometres (slightly less than twice the size of Arizona) with 20,042,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Madagascar

The topography includes narrow coastal plain, high plateau and mountains in center. The average density of population is approximately 34 per km². The notable climate conditions in Madagascar can be described as tropical along coast, temperate inland, arid in south. Possible natural disasters include periodic cyclones or drought or and locust infestation.

To reach someone in Madagascar dial +261 prior to a number. There are 181,200 installed telephones. And there are 5,997,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900 Mhz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".mg". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 220V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Madagascar

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.

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 elections 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. Numerous attempts have been made by regional and international organizations to resolve the subsequent political gridlock by forming a power-sharing government. Madagascar's independent electoral commission and the UN originally planned to hold a presidential election in early May 2013, but postponed the election until late July 2013, due to logistical delays.

Geography Quick-Facts

Summary Continent: Africa
Capital: Antananarivo
Size 587,040 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 226,657 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly less than twice the size of Arizona
Population 20,042,000
Currency Name: Ariary, Currency Code: MGA
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .mg
Telephone Country Prefix +261
Mobile Phone Connections 5,997,000
Landline Phone Connections 181,200

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value name Value World Rank
Area 587,041 (sq km) 47

People and Society

Value name Value World Rank
Population 22,599,098 52
Population growth rate 2.65 (%) 22
Birth rate 33.58 (births/1,000 population) 31
Death rate 7.10 (deaths/1,000 population) 128
Maternal mortality rate 240.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 48
Infant mortality rate 46.13 (deaths/1,000 live births) 47
Life expectancy at birth 64.85 (years) 174
Total fertility rate 4.36 (children born/woman) 33
Health expenditures 3.80 (% of GDP) 171
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.20 (%) 103
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 24,000 73
HIV/AIDS - deaths 1,700 55
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 1.60 (%) 187
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 36.80 (%) 6
Education expenditures 2.80 (% of GDP) 150
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 2.3 (%) 141


Value name Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 21,760,000,000 128
GDP - real growth rate 1.90 (%) 140
GDP - per capita (PPP) 1,000 218
Labor force 9,504,000 51
Distribution of family income - Gini index 48 28
Investment (gross fixed) 18.70 (% of GDP) 113
Taxes and other revenues 17.2 (% of GDP) 183
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -1.70 (% of GDP) 79
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 9.20 (%) 195
Commercial bank prime lending rate 52.50 (%) 1
Stock of narrow money 1,823,000,000 130
Stock of broad money 2,926,000,000 146
Stock of domestic credit 1,349,000,000 150
Industrial production growth rate 2.00 (%) 114
Current account balance -2,322,000,000 142
Exports 1,533,000,000 149
Imports 3,876,000,000 139
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 1,294,000,000 129
Debt - external 2,631,000,000 138


Value name Value World Rank
Electricity - production 1,350,000,000 (kWh) 143
Electricity - consumption 1,256,000,000 (kWh) 148
Electricity - installed generating capacity 406000 (kW) 143
Electricity - from fossil fuels 69.5 (% of total installed capacity) 108
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 30.5 (% of total installed capacity) 77
Refined petroleum products - consumption 17,480 (bbl/day) 138
Refined petroleum products - imports 14,250 (bbl/day) 122
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 3,384,000 (Mt) 135


Value name Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 138,100 139
Telephones - mobile cellular 8,665,000 84
Internet hosts 38,392 102
Internet users 319,900 127


Value name Value World Rank
Airports 82 68
Railways 854 (km) 97
Roadways 65,663 (km) 68
Waterways 600 (km) 79
Merchant marine 1 152


Value name Value World Rank
Military expenditures 5.10 (% of GDP) 15

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Name Since
Rainforests of the Atsinanana
The Rainforests of the Atsinanana comprise six national parks distributed along the eastern part of the island. These relict forests are critically important for maintaining ongoing ecological processes necessary for the survival of Madagascar’s un ...
Royal Hill of Ambohimanga
The Royal Hill of Ambohimanga consists of a royal city and burial site, and an ensemble of sacred places. It is associated with strong feelings of national identity, and has maintained its spiritual and sacred character both in ritual practice and th ...
Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve
Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve comprises karstic landscapes and limestone uplands cut into impressive 'tsingy' peaks and a 'forest' of limestone needles, the spectacular canyon of the Manambolo river, rolling hills and high peaks. The undis ...