Madagascar Travel Information

Photo 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. Madagascar faces problems of chronic malnutrition, under funded health and education facilities, a roughly 3% annual population growth rate, and severe loss of forest cover, accompanied by erosion. Agriculture, including fishing and forestry, is the mainstay of the economy, accounting for 34% of GDP and contributing more than 70% to export earnings. Industry features textile manufacturing and the processing of agricultural products. Growth in output in 1992-97 averaged less than the growth rate of the population. Growth has been held back by antigovernment strikes and demonstrations, a decline in world coffee demand, and the erratic commitment of the government to economic reform. Formidable obstacles stand in the way of Madagascar's realizing its considerable growth potential; the extent of government reforms, outside financial aid, and foreign investment will be key determinants. Growth should be in the 5% range in 2000-01.
In 2000, Madagascar embarked on the preparation of a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) under the Heavily Indebted Poor countries (HIPC) Initiative. The boards of the IMF and of the World Bank concurred in December 2000 that the country is eligible under the HIPC Initiative, and Madagascar has reached the decision point for debt relief. On March 1, 2001, the IMF Board granted the country $103 million for 2001-03 under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGR). Resources freed up from HIPC will be directed toward improving access to health, education, rural roads, water, and direct support to communities. In addition, on March 7, 2001, the Paris Club approved a debt cancellation of $161 million. On February 28, 2001, the African Development Bank (ADB) approved under the HIPC a debt cancellation of $71.46 million and granted in June 2001 an additional credit of $20 million to fight against AIDS and poverty.
Credit cards are only accepted in a few outlets in Antananarivo. They are not readily accepted elsewhere in the country.
Visitors must declare all foreign currency upon arrival if the total amount exceeds the equivalent of 50,000 FF.
Visitors are advised not to wear military style clothing. It is disapproved of locally and could lead to detention.
Photography of military and other government installations is prohibited. Cyclones can occur from late December to late March. They affect mainly the eastern part of the island.

Important: Travel to Madagascar may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Madagascar visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: Republic of Madagascar
Capital city: Antananarivo
Area: 587,041 sq km
Population: 22,005,222
Ethnic groups: Malayo-Indonesian
Languages: French
Religions: indigenous beliefs 52%, Christian 41%, Muslim 7%
Government: republic
Chief of State: President Andry Nirina RAJOELINA
Head of Government: Prime Minister Jean Omer BERIZIKY
GDP: 20.64 billion
GDP per captia: 900
Annual growth rate: 1.8%
Inflation: 9.5%
Agriculture: coffee, vanilla, sugarcane, cloves, cocoa, rice, cassava
Major industries: meat processing, seafood, soap, breweries, tanneries, sugar, textiles, glassware, cement, automobile assembly plant, paper, petroleum, tourism
Natural resources: graphite, chromite, coal, bauxite, rare earth elements, salt, quartz, tar sands, semiprecious stones, mica, fish, hydropower
Location: Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Mozambique
Trade Partners - exports: France 22.9%, Indonesia 15.5%, Singapore 6.7%, China 5.7%, Germany 5.5%, US 5%
Trade Partners - imports: China 17.4%, France 13.3%, South Africa 5.7%, Singapore 4.9%, Bahrain 4.8%, Mauritius 4.6%, Kuwait 4.5%, India 4.1%