The Republic of Madagascar
, located in the western Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of Africa, is the world’s fourth largest island. Spanning 975 miles (1,570 km) in length and 355 miles (570 km) in width, this African island is separated from the continent by the Mozambique Channel. With an area of approximately 226,658 square miles (587,041 sq km), the country is home to over 29 million people, mostly belonging to 20 Malayo-Indonesian groups. The official languages are Malagasy and French, with Christianity and traditional beliefs being the main religions.
The terrain of Madagascar is dominated by a high central plateau rising to 9,436 feet (2,876 m) at the volcanic Tsaratanana massif. A fifth of the country is still covered by forests, which are important for the agricultural production of staples such as rice, sugarcane, and cassava. In addition, cash crops like cloves and vanilla are also harvested. Aquaculture is another economic activity of importance.
Madagascar is a republic ruled by a president, the head of state, and a prime minister, the head of government. The legislature is made up of two chambers: the National Assembly, with 151 members, and the Senate, with 631 members.
The currency of Madagascar is the ariary. As of 2020, its Gross National Income per capita was around US$480. Life expectancy at birth is 66 years for males and 68.5 years for females, while literacy rates stand at 78% for men and 75% for women.