Africa: Madagascar

About Madagascar

Formerly an independent kingdom, Madagascar became a French colony in 1886, 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.

Vital Statistics
Capitol City: Antananarivo
Population: 15,982,563 (July 2001 est.)
Percent below poverty: 70% (1994 est.)
Language: French (official), Malagasy (official)
Date of independence: 26 June 1960 (from France)
Form of government: republic
Title of Leader: President, Prime Minister
Natural Resources: graphite, chromite, coal, bauxite, salt, quartz, tar sands, semiprecious stones, mica, fish, hydropower
Environmental 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
Agricultural Products: coffee, vanilla, sugarcane, cloves, cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), beans, bananas, peanuts; livestock products
Imports: intermediate manufactures, capital goods, petroleum, consumer goods, food
Exports: offee, vanilla, shellfish, sugar; cotton cloth, chromite, petroleum products
Trading Partners: IMPORTS: France 34%, Hong Kong 6%, China 6%, Japan 5%, Singapore 4% (1999)
EXPORTS: France 41%, US 19%, Germany 13%, UK 8%, Japan 6% (1999)


Madagascar Headlines


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