Country Profile

Country Profile - Madagascar

Country Profile of 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. 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. In March 2009, President RAVALOMANA was forced out of office by the military and replaced by ANDRY RAJOELINA.

Location: Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Mozambique. World's fourth-largest island; strategic location along Mozambique Channel.

Capital: Antananarivo

Head of State:  Andry Rajoelina

Independence: 26 June 1960 (from France)

Population Latest 2013 (million): 20.696. 000

Population growth rate : 2.68% (2012 est)

Ethnic groups: Malayo-Indonesian (Merina and related Betsileo), Cotiers (mixed African, Malayo-Indonesian, and Arab ancestry - Betsimisaraka, Tsimihety, Antaisaka, Sakalava), French, Indian, Creole, Comoran

Languages: French (official), Malagasy (official)

Religion: indigenous beliefs 52%, Christian 41%, Muslim 7%

Currency: Malagasy franc

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