Repoblikan’i Madagasikara (Republic of Madagascar)
Reference work entry


  • Capital: Antananarivo

  • Population estimate, 2015: 24.24 m.

  • GNI per capita, 2014: (PPP$) 1,328

  • HDI/world rank, 2014: 0.510/154

  • Internet domain extension: .mg

Civil Aviation

There are international airports at Antananarivo (Ivato) and Mahajanga (Amborovy). The national carrier is Air Madagascar, which is 90.6% state-owned. In 2013 it carried 539,000 passengers (303,000 on domestic flights), serving six international and 22 domestic destinations. In 2012 Antananarivo handled 890,632 passengers (586,532 on international flights) and 22,276 tonnes of freight.


A tropical climate, but the mountains cause big variations in rainfall, which is very heavy in the east and very light in the west. Antananarivo, Jan. 70 °F (21.1 °C), July 59 °F (15 °C). Annual rainfall 54″ (1,350 mm). Toamasina, Jan. 80 °F (26.7 °C), July 70 °F (21.1 °C). Annual rainfall 128″ (3,256 mm).

Constitution and Government

A new constitution was promulgated on 10 Dec. 2010, having won 74.2% support at a referendum held in Nov. 2010. However, the referendum was boycotted by the three main opposition parties and turnout was 52.6%, with registered voters accounting for only about a third of the population. On the day of the vote there was an unsuccessful army mutiny against the rule of Rajoelina. The new constitution reduced the minimum age requirement for the presidency from 40 years to 35 (allowing the then 36-year old Rajoelina to stand in the next presidential election). It also demanded that presidential candidates should be resident in the country in the 6 months leading up to an election, which effectively ruled out Rajoelina’s exiled predecessor, Marc Ravalomanana, from standing against him. Rajoelina’s critics argued the constitution was designed to bolster the interim president’s personal standing.


In July 2003 then President Marc Ravalomanana announced that the Ariary (MGA) would become the official currency, replacing the Malagasy franc (MGFr). The Ariary became legal tender on 1 Aug. 2003 at a rate of 1 Ariary = 5 Malagasy francs. The Ariary is subdivided into five Iraimbilanja. In July 2005 foreign exchange reserves were US$435 m. and total money supply was 1,324.0 bn. ariarys.


There is conscription (including civilian labour service) for 18 months. Defence expenditure totalled US$72 m. in 2013 (US$3 per capita), representing 0.7% of GDP.


In 2009 agriculture contributed 29.1% of GDP, industry 16.0% and services 54.9%.


The labour force in 2013 was 11,688,000 (8,182,000 in 2003). 89.7% of the population aged 15–64 was economically active in 2013. In the same year 3.6% of the population was unemployed. Madagascar had 19,000 people living in slavery according to the Walk Free Foundation’s 2013 Global Slavery Index.


In 2008 there were 13 daily newspapers with a total circulation of 115,000.


In 2005 there were 854 km of railways, all metre gauge. In 2005, 100,000 passengers and 300,000 tonnes of freight were transported.


In 2010 there were an estimated 8.11 m. Protestants and 7.26 m. Catholics according to the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, with folk religionists numbering 900,000 and 1.4 m. people having no religious affiliation.


In 2012 there were 31,640 km of roads, 21.9% of which were paved. There were 146,300 passenger cars, 280,800 buses and coaches and 83,800 lorries and vans in 2008. 550 people died in road accidents in 2006.


The main ports are Toamasina, Mahajanga, Antsiranana and Toliary. In Jan. 2009 there were 19 ships of 300 GT or over registered, totalling 18,000 GT.

Social Statistics

2008 estimates: births, 686,000; deaths, 176,000. Rates, 2008 estimates (per 1,000 population): births, 35.9; deaths, 9.2. Infant mortality, 2010 (per 1,000 live births), 43. Expectation of life in 2013 was 63.2 years for males and 66.2 for females. Annual population growth rate, 2000–08, 2.8%. Fertility rate, 2008, 4.7 births per woman.


In 2011 there were 130,100 landline telephone subscriptions (equivalent to 6.5 per 1,000 inhabitants) and 8,159,600 mobile phone subscriptions (or 382.8 per 1,000 inhabitants). There were 17.0 internet users per 1,000 inhabitants in 2010. Fixed internet subscriptions totalled 8,300 in 2009 (0.4 per 1,000 inhabitants). In June 2012 there were 233,000 Facebook users.

Territory and Population

Madagascar is situated 400 km (250 miles) off the southeast coast of Africa, from which it is separated by the Mozambique channel. Its area is 587,041 km2 (226,658 sq. miles), including 5,500 km2 (2,120 sq. miles) of inland water. At the last census, in 1993, the population was 12,092,157 (50.45% female); density, 20.6 per km2. The estimate for 2011 was 20,696,100; density, 35.6 per km2. 69.8% of the population lived in rural areas in 2010. The indigenous population is of Malayo-Polynesian stock, divided into 18 ethnic groups of which the principal are Merina (24%) of the central plateau, the Betsimisaraka (13%) of the east coast and the Betsileo (11%) of the southern plateau. Foreign communities include Europeans (mainly French), Indians, Chinese, Comorians and Arabs. Malagasy, French and (since 2007) English are all official languages.


In 2011, 225,005 non-resident tourists arrived by air (excluding same-day visitors), up from 196,052 in 2010 although down from the peak of 375,010 in 2008.

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© Springer Nature Limited 2019

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