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Area: 592,800 sq. km. (228,880 sq. mi.).
Cities: Capital--Antananarivo (pop. about 1,300,000). Other cities--Antsirabe (about 500,000), Mahajanga (about 400,000), Toamasina (about 450,000).
Terrain: Mountainous central plateau, coastal plain.
Climate: Moderate interior, tropical coasts.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Malagasy.
Population (2004, World Bank estimate): 18,100,000.
Annual population growth rate (2004, World Bank): 2.7%.
Ethnic groups: 18 Malagasy tribes; small groups of Comorians, French, Indians, and Chinese.
Religions: Traditional beliefs 47%, Christian 45%, Muslim 7%.
Languages: Malagasy (official), French.
Education: Years compulsory--5. Attendance--65%. Literacy--70.7%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--76/1,000. Life expectancy--55 yrs.
Work force (2000): 8 million. Agriculture--80%; industry--7%.

Type: Republic.
Independence: June 26, 1960.
Constitution: Entered into force in March 1998.
Branches: Executive--president, prime minister, cabinet. Legislative--National Assembly and Senate. Judicial--Supreme Court, High Court of Justice, Constitutional High Court.
Subdivisions: Six autonomous provinces (faritany).
Political parties: Eight parties won seats in the December 2002 National Assembly elections. The ruling party I Love Madagascar (TIM) holds a solid majority of seats; others holding seats include Be Judged by Your Work (AVI), Rally for Social Democracy (RSPD), Pillar and Podium for the Development of Madagascar (AREMA), Militants for the Development of Madagascar (MFM), Reflection and Action Group for Development in Madagascar (GRAD-Iloafo), Economic Liberalism and Democratic Action for Reconstruction Party (LEADER-Fanilo), and the regional party For A Mature Tamatave. There also dozens of minor parties.
Suffrage: Universal at 18.
National holiday: June 26.

GDP (U.S.$, 2004): $4.4 billion.
GDP per capita (World Bank Country Assistance Strategy): $240.
Unemployment: no reliable data available.
Natural resources: Graphite, chrome, coal, bauxite, ilmenite, nickel, gold, tar sands, semiprecious stones, and hardwoods.
Agriculture (28.8% of GDP, 2004, World Bank data): Products--rice, livestock, seafood, coffee, vanilla, sugar, cloves, cotton, sisal, peanuts, and tobacco.
Industry (16% of GDP, 2004, World Bank data): Types--processed food, clothing, textiles, mining, paper, refined petroleum products, glassware, construction, soap, cement, tanning.
Trade: Exports (2003, f.o.b. $852 million): apparel, shrimp, vanilla, coffee, cloves, graphite, essential oils, industrial minerals and gemstones. Major export markets--U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Japan, EU. Imports (2003, c.i.f.) $1.3 billion-$1.464 billion: foodstuffs, fuel and energy, capital goods, vehicles, consumer goods and electronics. Major suppliers--France, China, Hong Kong, Belgium, U.S.

Adapted from material published in the CIA World Factbook.
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