Fact File – Madagascar
Area: 226,657 square miles; the fourth largest island in the world; lying east of Mozambique.
: The climate is tropical on the coast, temperate inland, and arid in the south and south west. Madagascar has a narrow coastal plain and central mountainous plateau (Maromokotro 2,876 metres). It experiences periodic devastating cyclones.
: 16 million. Only 3% are 65 years and over.
: 85 deaths per 1,000 live births.
: 55 years.
: Malagasy (mixed Indonesian, African and Arab) 98.6%; others, including Chinese, Reunionese, Comoran, Arab, Indian and French, 1.4%.
: Malagasy, French.
: Madagascar has a subsistence agricultural economy. Exports include coffee, vanilla, cloves and sugar. The country’s extensive forests are being rapidly slashed and burned, leading to soil erosion and loss of habitat from a richly diverse ecosystem. Natural resources include coal, minerals (bauxite, mica, graphite, chromium) and fish. Hydroelectricity is a significant power source. Economic development has been hindered by mismanagement, corruption and political unrest. There is malnutrition, malaria and a poor infrastructure, as well as rapid population growth.
: Traditional 45%, Protestant 27%, Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 7%, others, including cults 1%.
: Reformed Church (FKJM), Lutheran, Anglican, various Evangelical, various Pentecostal and Charismatic, Bible Baptist, others.
: Madagascar became a French colony in 1896, and gained independence from France in 1960. In 1993 democratic elections were held, ending 20 years of Marxist-type rule, but many social problems have continued.