Dialing code +261
ISO 2 code MG
ISO 3 code MDG
Capital Antananarivo
Main Language French
Currency Ariary (MGA)
GDP $20.8 billion 119th
Population 21,281,844 56th


Continent Africa
Location Southern Africa island in the Indian Ocean east of Mozambique
Land 587,040 km2 47th
Terrain Narrow coastal plain high plateau and mountains in center
Climate Tropical along coast temperate inland arid in south
Natural Hazards Narrow coastal plain high plateau and mountains in center
Note: World's fourth-largest island; strategic location along Mozambique Channel

Neighbouring Countries


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 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. Elections are expected in the fall of 2010.
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Life Expectancy 62.89 years 159th
Median Age 18.0 years 183rd
Birth Rate 38.14 births/1,000 population 21st
Death Rate 8.14 births/1,000 population 98th
Sex Ratio 0.8 male(s)/female 86th
Literacy 68.9% 162nd

21.3 million


Roadways 65663 km 68th
Railways 854 km 97th
Airports 90 65th
Waterways 600 km 78th
Heliports None
Airports paved 1 96th


Currency Ariary (MGA)
GDP $20.8 billion 119th
GDP per capita (PPP) $1000 189th