|Land area||587,041 km²|
|Population density (per km²）||45.9|
|Official language||Malagassi, French|
|Income per capita||1,600 USD|
|ISO 3166 code||MG|
|Time zone UTC||+ 3|
|Geographic coordinates||20 00 S, 47 00 O|
Madagascar. Although the country is one of the world’s poorest, constantly exposed to severe tropical storms, and with about three-quarters of the population referred to survive for less than $ 15 a day, Madagascar pursues an ambitious environmental policy. The government has succeeded in slowing the pace of deforestation, despite the rural population’s great need for new agricultural land. In June, the government signed an agreement with France that a debt of approximately SEK 140 million be written off and the sum transferred to an environmental protection fund. The money will be used partly to protect the forests with their unique flora and fauna, and partly to strengthen the local communities’ opportunities to find livelihoods and economic development without affecting the environment.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER: Click to see the meanings of 2-letter acronym and abbreviation of MA in general and in geography as Madagascar in particular.
General information about Madagascar
When looking at the map, one sees Madagascar easily into Africa. The island seceded from Africa nearly 50 million years ago, but only 300 kilometers separate it from the mainland. Isolation has enabled the unique development of different plant and animal species: up to 80 percent of the more than 10,000 plant species and an even higher percentage of animals are native. Thanks to its isolation, Madagascar has developed into a true natural paradise. If, on the other hand, you forget the map and look at the human face on the streets of the capital, Antananarivo, you can imagine that you came to Asia or Europe. Residents like to emphasize their very Asian origins. The earliest residents may have come from the Malay Archipelago as early as the first centuries of our era. Later, people came from both Africa and Arabia, but also from Europe with the colonial conquerors, From the Netherlands, England and especially France. The island has two official languages, French, which came with the former colonial host, and Malagasy, a member of the Malay-Polynesian language group, which is also the name of the residents of this island of more than 20 million. Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world. Three-quarters of citizens make their living from farming: rice, corn, potatoes, vanilla, sisal, cotton and pepper.
A tour of Madagascar is the best way to explore the natural paradise shaped by isolation. Trips from one nature reserve to another and between small towns and villages sometimes run quite modest roads with a bus rustling. Getting to know nature itself is best done on walks in the park. In the evening, they travel silently in the light of flashlights to observe the trees and look for small shiny pairs of eyes, which in Madagascar most often belong to sweets. There are about 50 species of these mammals on the island. Located in the humid rainforest area of eastern Madagascar, the most famous residents of the Andasibe National Park are the large black and white indrimaks. They are identified by a peculiar ghost regulation echoing in the early morning. Most of Madagascar’s island, which is about twice the size of Finland, is a central plateau one and a half kilometers high. The west side is a green lowland. Ranomafana National Park is home to 12 species of lemurs, including the golden bocombal, the wool indri and the broad snout bobombal. There are also original populations of chameleons in the area. People today are part of a successful nature conservation. People who have previously lived in the area of Ranomafana Park have been placed in nearby villages and have been given training in agriculture and forestry and Finnish lessons in honey production. The members of the fimaniry tribe, who live near the mountainous small town of Ambositra, on the other hand, are skilled woodworkers. They have been instructed to make the products of their craftsmanship available to tourists in particular. The Isalo National Park, located in the southwestern part, also presents its own maki, such as the capercaillie, red belly and ring tail. Isalo’s nature is characterized by dry grasslands, sandstone ridges and canyons that have been dug by wind and water for millennia. At the bottom of the canyons flow small streams, and therefore grow plants that require moisture, such as palm trees and ferns.
The southwest coast offers the tourist beautiful sandy beaches like Ifaty with its resorts and stops like the port city of Toliara. There are also sapphire-enriched gemstone villages here, with plush banknote stumps and stones changing owners in small stalls. The specialties of the plant world include cacti-like thorns in Ifaty, which can rise up to 20 meters high. The unique nature of the island of Madagascar is particularly vulnerable, even along the coast, as an unnecessary amount of corals from the east coast, for example, have been collected as souvenirs.
Many cities in Madagascar have their own special look. Antsirabe is known for its “pousse-pousse” rickshaws and Fianarantso for its many educational institutions, especially Catholic schools. The viticulture skills brought by the Swiss also flourish in the Fianarantso area. The capital, Antananarivo, has been the center of the largest ethnic group, the Merino, for four hundred years. The city is built on twelve hills. It is charming with its narrow streets and palaces of the rulers.
According to Countryaah reports, the population of Madagascar in 2008 was 21,151,529, ranking number 55 in the world. The population growth rate was 2.900% yearly, and the population density was 36.3558 people per km2.