Madagascar originally Republic of Madagascar is an island nation in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa. The main island, also called Madagascar, is the fourth-largest island in the world, and is home to 5% of the world’s plant and animal species, of which more than 80% are endemic to Madagascar. They include the lemur infraorder of primates, the carnivorous fossa, three bird families and six baobab species.
Official Name: Repoblikan’i Madagasikara
Short Form: Madagascar
Country Calling Code: +261
Capital City: Antananarivo (1,613,375 : 2005 est.)
Other Cities: Antsirabé (about 500 000), Mahajanga (about 400 000), Toamasina (about 450 000)
Government Type: Republic
Independence: 26 June 1960 (from France)
Population: 20.7 million (2011)
Ethnic Groups: 18 separate tribal groups of Malayo-Indonesian, mixed African and Malayo-Indonesian, and Arab ancestry, French, Indian, Creole, Comoran.
Religions: Indigenous beliefs 52%, Christian 41%, Muslim 7%.
Languages: Malagasy (of Malayo-Polynesian origin), French, (both official), English
Natural Resources: Graphite, chromite, coal, bauxite, salt, quartz, tar sands, semiprecious stones, mica, fish, hydropower.
Agriculture Products: Coffee, vanilla, sugarcane, cloves, cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), beans, bananas, peanuts; livestock products.
Industries: Meat processing, soap, breweries, tanneries, sugar, textiles, glassware, cement, automobile assembly plant, paper, petroleum, tourism.
Currency: Ariary and Malagasy Franc (FMG)
Source: www.nationsonline.org/Africa; www.bbc.com/ Madagascar Profile; other.