Madagascar is the world's fourth largest island
and lies in the Indian Ocean about 50 miles from the
African mainland. In Madagascar, a unique flora and
fauna has developed since the island was separated from
the African and Asian continents 160 million years ago.
The ethnically mixed population has both African and
Indonesian features. Madagascar has plenty of minerals
and fertile soils, but political instability has
hampered economic development.
Brief profiles of Madagascar, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Madagascar is the world's fourth largest
island, on the surface about 30 percent larger than
Sweden. It is located in the Indian Ocean about 50 miles
east of the African continent with Mozambique as its
closest neighbor on the mainland. Madagascar is located
in the tropical zone, but the climate varies between
different parts of the country.
Madagascar has a 482-mile coastline. The state also
has a number of smaller islands.
The hinterland, where the capital Antananarivo is
located, consists of a high plateau that extends from
north to south. The mountain massif rises after a narrow
coastal strip steep in the east and then slopes down
towards the west side. To the west, the wider coastal
strip is watered by a large number of rivers. High
mountains cut off the fertile northern tip from the rest
of the country.
In eastern Madagascar, rainforests are still growing,
but otherwise the island is now mostly covered by steppe
and savanna. Grazing livestock and burning have worn
hard on nature. A maximum of one-third of the forest
that previously covered the island remains. Almost all
the valleys on the high plateau are filled with
artificial irrigated rice crops.
Since Madagascar was separated from the African and
Asian continents about 160 million years ago, a unique
plant and animal world has developed on the island. Here
are many species that do not live elsewhere, including
25 species of half-monkeys, so-called lemurs.
However, many animals and plants are threatened with
extinction. The Tsingy de Bemaraha Nature Reserve in the
west, the Ambohimanga mountain to the north of the
capital and the Atsinanana rainforest in the north are
classified by the UN agency Unesco as a World Heritage
Site. In 2010, the Atsinanana forests were also placed
on UNESCO's list of environments that are in danger of
being destroyed, partly because of illegal logging and
partly theft of lemurs.
The climate is hot and humid along the east coast,
but hot and dry on the west coast and furthest to the
south. The coast to the east receives large amounts of
rain from the winds.
Inland, the climate is cooler and drier. Here are two
distinct seasons: the rainy season from November to
April and the dry and cool period from May to October,
when night frosts can occur at higher altitudes.
Cyclones and floods often hit the country, often with
disastrous consequences. The December 2006 cyclone
season became the worst in modern times. Nearly half a
million people were affected in various ways by six
large cyclones that dragged across the island. Tens of
thousands of hectares of rice crops were washed away.
Madagascar is also periodically plagued by drought.
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
587 041 km2 (2018)
Swedish +2 hours
Capital with number of inhabitants
Antananarivo 1 300 000 (Census 2018) 1
Other major cities
Toamasina 326 300, Antsirabé 245 600, Mahajanga 244
700 (Census 2018)
Maromokotro (2,876 m asl)
Average Precipitation / month
Antananarivo 295 mm (Jan), 8 mm (July)
Average / day
Antananarivo 21 °C (Jan), 15 °C (July)
- with suburbs 3,200,000 (UN estimate
TIM gets majority
In an earlier parliamentary election, President Ravalomanana's Party
I Love Madagascar (TIM) wins 106 of the 127 seats.
Yes to constitutional changes
In a referendum, around 75 percent of voters say yes to a series of
constitutional changes proposed by President Marc Ravalomanana. Among the
constitutional amendments are that in times of crisis the president may enact
laws without Parliament's consent, that English become official language
alongside French and Malagasy and that the country's six autonomous provinces
are replaced by 22 smaller regions.