Madagascar at a glance

Full name Republic of Madagascar (Repoblikan’i Madagasikara)

Motto Fitiavana, Tanindrazana, Fandrosoana (Love, Fatherland, Progress)

Area 587,041km² (world’s fourth largest island; 2½ times size of UK)

Capital city Antananarivo (Tana)

Major towns Fianarantsoa (Fianar), Antsirabe, Toliara (Tulear), Taolagnaro (Fort Dauphin), Toamasina (Tamatave), Mahajanga (Majunga), Antsiranana (Diego Suarez)

Main international airport Ivato Airport, Antananarivo (TNR)

Other main airports Antsiranana (DIE), Mahajanga (MJN), Morondava (MOQ), Nosy Be (NOS), Toamasina (TMM), Taolagnaro (FTU), Toliara (TLE)

Transport 5,613km paved roads; 854km railways; 432km navigable waterways

Public holidays 1 Jan, 29 Mar, Easter (movable), 1 May, Ascension (movable), Whit Monday (movable), 26 Jun, 15 Aug, 14 Oct, 1 Nov, 11 Dec, 25 Dec

Time zone 3 hours ahead of GMT (no daylight savings time observed)

Electricity 220 volts, European-style round-pin sockets

Currency Ariary (Ar; MGA) (for up-to-date rates, go to

International dialling code +261 (followed by 20 when calling landlines)

Internet domain extension .mg

Driving side Right

Visa Required by all tourists; available on arrival; max 90 days

Population 25 million (2017 est); growing at 3% per year

Age structure 0–14yrs 40% of population; 15–64 yrs 57%; 65yrs and over 3%

Life expectancy Male 64 years; female 67 years

Poverty 81% of population live on less than US$1.25/day; 93% on less than US$2/day

Literacy 65% of over-15s can read and write

Official languages Malagasy, French,

Religions Indigenous beliefs (52%), Christian (41%), Muslim (7%)

Leader President Hery Rajaonarimampianina (since January 2014)

GDP US$38bn (PPP); US$9.7bn (official exchange rate); US$1,500 (per capita PPP)

Main agriculture Rice, coffee, vanilla, sugarcane, cloves, cocoa, cassava (tapioca), beans, bananas, peanuts, livestock products

Main exports Vanilla, cloves, nickel, cobalt, textiles, prawn, titanium and chromium ores, fish, cocoa beans, essential oils, precious stones

Main import partners France (18%), USA (12%), Germany (7%), China (6%), South Africa (6%), India (5%), Japan (5%), Belgium and Luxembourg (5%)

Flag Horizontal bands of red and green alongside a vertical white band (the red represents sovereignty, the green stands for hope, and the white for purity)

Independence 26 June 1960 (from France)

Back to the top