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Preface Last Updated: 10/24/2003 2:03 AM

Madagascar is a fascinating island. The people, whose origins are a combination of Malay-Polynesian, African, and Middle Eastern, have developed their own culture and traditions reflecting that diversity as well as some unifying aspects, including a common Malagasy language.

Madagascar's long history as an isolated area has contributed to the development of a Malagasy psychology. Although politically associated with the African states, Madagascar is not African; it is not Asian; and in spite of more than 60 years of French colonization, it is not European.

The island's isolation from other land masses since breaking apart from the greater land mass that included Africa, India, and Australia more than 80 million years ago, together with the fact that it remained unpopulated by humans until around the time of Christ, has resulted in an incredible legacy of flora and fauna unique to the island. From the famous lemurs, to the towering bottle-shaped baobab trees, to the fantastic array of frogs, chameleons and reptiles, Madagascar is one of the world's hotspots for biodiversity and endemism [plants and animals found nowhere else]. An illustration of the richness of the fauna found here is the spiny desert, located in the dry southern part of Madagascar, where 95% of the plant species are unique not only to Madagascar but to this small region. Of the 33 species of lemur, all are endemic to Madagascar (with the exception of two found in the neighboring Comoros, where they were likely introduced by man).

Yet many of Madagascar's wonderfully unique species are tragically threatened. Since the relatively recent (in evolutionary terms) arrival of man, the giant sloth lemur, the enormous elephant bird (at 1,000 pounds, the largest bird ever known, together with the also-extinct moa of New Zealand), the pygmy hippopotamus, and one-third of all species of lemur, including the giant lemur, which was larger than a gorilla, have all become extinct. The rapidly growing human population has also led to severe environmental degradation. More than 90% of the original forest cover has been destroyed

Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, has proven to be a very special assignment for many Americans, although not an easy one. Americans must be resourceful to adjust to the isolated environment, the language and cultural barriers, and the difficulties of life in a developing country whose economy is severely strained. But the pleasant climate, the abundant fresh food, the flowers, the friendly people, and the opportunities for discovering the unique flora and fauna of the island make an assignment here a fondly remembered experience for most.

NOTE: The name of the country is the Republic of Madagascar. The word "Malagasy" is used as a noun only when referring to the people of Madagascar or the language they speak; e.g., the Malagasy speak Malagasy. All other uses of the word "Malagasy" are as adjectives; e.g., "The Malagasy people."

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 10/24/2003 2:07 AM

Madagascar, the world's fourth-largest island after Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo, is situated in the Indian Ocean 250 miles off the southeast coast of Africa. Covering 226,658 square miles, it is 995 miles long and 360 miles across at its widest point. It is approximately twice the size of the State of Arizona. Madagascar extends from 8 to 26 degrees south latitude - equivalent to the range from Managua, Nicaragua to Miami, Florida in the Northern Hemisphere.

The east coast of Madagascar is virtually a straight line facing the Indian Ocean. The western coastline, facing the Mozambique Channel and Africa, is more contoured. A spine of mountains running the length of the island from north to south creates a distinct geographical division between the east and west. Along the crest of this ridge lie the central highlands, a plateau region ranging in altitude from 2,450 to 4,400 feet above sea level. This central ridge is punctuated by higher mountain massifs in three areas: by the Tsaratanana Mountain massif in the far north; by the Ankaratra massif in the central area south of the capital, Antananarivo; and by the Andringitra massif further south.

The central highlands are characterized by terraced, rice-growing valleys nestled among barren hills. Here, the crust of red laterite that covers much of the island has been exposed by erosion, showing why the country is known as "the Great Red Island." Toward the east, a steep escarpment leads from the central highlands down through a strip of dense rain forest to a narrow coastal plain. The Canal des Pangalanes, a chain of natural and man-made lakes connected by canals, runs parallel to the eastern coast for some 300 miles.

The descent from the central highlands toward the west is more gradual, and is characterized by remnants of deciduous forest and savannah-like plains. In the south and southwest, these plains become quite dry, and it is here that one finds the unique spiny desert and famous baobabs.

In the north of the island, the Tsaratanana Mountain massif (at 9,468 feet, the highest point in Madagascar) separates Diego Suarez, one of the world's great natural harbors, from the rest of the island.

Madagascar's geography creates many climatic subdivisions. The coastal climate is hot and tropical, with the east coast receiving the most rainfall (more than 160 inches of rain in Maroantsetra.). This is due to the effect of moisture-laden trade winds off the Indian Ocean as they encounter the steep escarpment of the Madagascar coastline. The east coast is also most affected by the cyclones which periodically hit the island, often causing extensive damage. East coast temperatures reach an average high of 85 in the summer and 72 in the winter.

On the west coast, precipitation levels drop off from north to south. There are desert areas of the deep south which receive only 2 inches of rain per year. West coast temperatures are generally several degrees warmer than the east coast temperatures.

The central highlands, where the capital Antananarivo is located, have a more temperate climate. There are two primary seasons; the rainy summer season, which lasts from approximately November through mid-March; and the dry season, from mid-March through October. In (southern) summer, there are periods of rain almost every day, often in the late afternoon. Cyclones, which can affect the coastal areas, do not reach the highlands, but their influence can cause extended periods of rain. The average daily high temperature in summer is in the mid 80's, with a hot mid-day sun alternating with the periods of rain. Nighttime lows average in the low 60's.

The shoulder months of April, May and September, October are very pleasant, with little rain, blue skies, and daytime highs in the 70's. In the (southern) winter months of June-August, the skies are often sunny and daytime highs can reach the mid-to-high 60s. However, there are also chilly days which are overcast and windy with daytime highs in the 50's. Nighttime lows in winter can drop into the 40's in Antananarivo.

Population Last Updated: 10/24/2003 2:05 AM

Madagascar had no human population until about the first century of the Christian era. The current population reflects the influence of diverse societies from around the Indian Ocean and has developed a unique and unified culture from varied sources.

From language, racial characteristics, and certain cultural practices, it is generally agreed that the first settlers were of Malay-Indonesian origin. (There is an 80% linguistic overlap with Indonesian languages, with the closest correlation to the language of the present-day Maanjan people of central Borneo.) Although no archaeological remains indicate that human occupation occurred prior to 600 A.D., it can be deduced from the lack of iron-working skills among these early settlers that they must have left their original homeland around the time of Christ, when iron-working began to appear in Indonesia. Certain core elements of Malagasy culture reflect its links to Indonesia (outrigger canoes, certain musical instruments, traditions of rice cultivation, slash-and-burn farming practices, and rectangular houses). The route of and reasons for their migration are not known; however, due to the enormous expanse - some 4,000 miles - of the Indian Ocean separating Madagascar from Indonesia, it is generally thought that these immigrants must have come in stages via southern India, the Persian Gulf, and east Africa using the outrigger canoe - a form of navigation still found along this presumed route.

Initial settlements were confined to the north and northwest coastal areas. Early in the second millennium, Afro-Arab merchant seamen, who dominated the western Indian Ocean by this time, began exchanges with Madagascar, and some East Africans migrated, bringing cattle. The African racial influence, most notable in the coastal areas and southern plains of Madagascar, and the importance of zebu-herding, probably date from this era. The Arab presence was strongest in the northwest and southeast (where Arabic script was widely used) and its influence is reflected in the continuing island-wide practices of circumcision and astrology, and the knowledge of making papyrus-like paper from beaten bark.

The first European to reach the island was the Portuguese explorer Diego Dias in 1500. Dutch, English, and French traders followed. The most colorful characters to bring their influence to Madagascar were late seventeenth, early eighteenth century pirates, who used the east coast island of Ile Sainte Marie and other areas as safe havens and bases for attacking Indian Ocean trading vessels. In the mid-seventeenth century, the French made the first attempt to establish a commercial colony - near present-day Fort Dauphin in the southeast. The French and English showed an increasing commercial interest in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, drawn by Madagascar's strategic location on trading routes to India and for provision of staples to other Indian Ocean colonies, such as Reunion and Mauritius. The Merina kingdom of the highlands used the help of the British government and the benefits of missionary schools to consolidate its control over much of the island. France made Madagascar a formal colony from 1896 through 1960.

The twentieth century brought an influx of French settlers, and Indo-Pakistani and Chinese immigrants. An historical rivalry has existed between the coastal people (the Cotiers) considered to be underprivileged, and the Merina of the high plateau region who are predominant in the civil service, business, and the professions.

More than half of Malagasy are Christian. Many others follow indigenous traditional religions, and about 7% are Muslim. Christians are divided about half Roman Catholic (more prevalent in coastal regions) and half Protestant. The major Protestant groupings are Protestant Reformed (FJKM), Anglican, and Lutheran. The FFKM, a consortium of the four major Christian religions, is a key player in Madagascar social and political life. President Marc Ravalomanana, the first highlander and first Protestant to hold that post, remains a vice-president of FJKM, the Protestant Reformed church.

Traditional religion emphasizes links between the living and the dead. Ancestors are believed to be intensely concerned with the lives of their descendants. Adherents believe death is but a passage to another life from which the ancestors can advise and protect the living. This spiritual communion is celebrated by funeral rites called "Famadihana", or the "turning of the dead," a highland ritual of removing remains from the family tomb, re-wrapping them in new shrouds, and returning them to the tomb after festive ceremonies in their honor. Although the timing of exhumations varies across the island, the majority of Malagasy try to have the ceremony at least once every five years, funds permitting. These are very important and expensive occasions, since it falls to the family whose tomb is being opened to entertain all guests with food and drink and to bear the expense of new shrouds. Many Christians incorporate the cult of the dead with their own religious practices.

Despite the existence of 18 major tribes, the Malagasy speak a single language - Malagasy - which is grammatically related to Indonesian and written in the Roman alphabet, using 21 letters. Regional dialects exist but are more a matter of vocabulary and accent than basic linguistic differences. This uniformity of language has been a major factor in creating a sense of national unity among people of diverse cultural characteristics. Approximately 15% of the population also speaks French. French-speaking is particularly prevalent in Antananarivo, other towns of significant size, and in tourist destinations.

Official publications are frequently in both French and Malagasy, and Antananarivo's daily newspapers appear in both languages.

The population, which was approximately 16 million in 2001, has been increasing at an annual rate of approximately 2.8% and is more than triple the 5.3 million population in the independence year of 1960. The 25,000 French citizens, including dual nationals, make up the largest expatriate group. There are sizeable communities of immigrants from China, South Asia, and the Comoros.

In 2001, 44.7% of the population was less than 15 years old and only 3% over 65. Life expectancy in 2001 was 55.1 years. In the same year, 32.7% of those 15 and older were illiterate (39.4% of women). Per capita income in 2001 was approximately $260.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:04 AM

The Republic of Madagascar is a parliamentary democracy headed by a President elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term. Marc Ravalomanana was the eventual winner of the election held in December 2001, defeating the incumbent Didier Ratsiraka. A dispute concerning the election results threw the country into crisis. Transport links were severely affected and the economy went into a steep decline from which the country is still recovering.

The Constitution of 1992, the third since independence in 1960, is the basic document of government and provides for a strong Presidency. Since 1995, the President has selected the Prime Minister. The National Assembly is currently composed of 160 deputies, elected to five-year terms. The current Assembly was elected in December 2002. Its membership reflects a clear popular majority for the President, with over three-quarters of the deputies representing the President's TIM (or "I Love Madagascar") party and close allies. A 90-member Senate is chosen by the indirect election of 60 senators and the appointment of the remaining 30 by the President. The judicial system is based on the Napoleonic Code, the 1992 Constitution, and some traditional local practices.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 10/27/2003 0:32 AM

As in many developing countries, educational, scientific, and cultural activities in the Western sense are in a formative stage. There are public universities in Antananarivo and each of the five provincial capitals. Private higher-education has been allowed for only the past 13 years, and there are currently a small number of privately-run universities or specialized training institutions. The scientific community of Madagascar includes scientists trained at the various Malagasy universities, as well as a significant presence of American and other western researchers working mostly in environmental, biological, and anthropological fields.

The Government of Madagascar has announced an effort to fight poverty and, in this connection, has announced an "Education for All" initiative which would provide basic education free of charge in public schools. Building and equipping rural schools in order to insure equality of access to education is also a stated goal.

Another significant highlight is the announced introduction of English teaching at the primary school level. Schools will also play an important role in the fight against HIV-AIDS by providing sexual education. Decentralization of education is also an on-going effort.

Church-affiliated private primary and secondary schools are an important part of education, as they have been for over 150 years. Unfortunately, all levels of Malagasy schools suffer from a shortage of books and supplies.

The country has a rich folk music tradition, for which appreciation is growing both domestically and abroad. Traditional instruments include the valiha, a plucked stringed instrument made from a length of hollow bamboo; the sodina, a traditional end-blown flute; the kabosy, a small ukulele-like guitar; jejy voatavo (gourd dulcimer); and a great variety of percussion instruments, including drums and shakers. The Malagasy are also celebrated for their harmony-singing.

A leading exponent of the valiha is the virtuoso performer Justin Vali, who hails from Fierenana, a small village some 40 miles from Tana where nearly all the inhabitants are dedicated to the performance and/or crafting of the valiha and various percussion instruments for resale in the markets of Tana. Mr. Vali currently lives in Paris and has done much to engender an explosion of interest in Malagasy music abroad.

Another group which has done much to increase enthusiasm for Malagasy music is Tarika, which was voted by Time Magazine as one of the top 10 bands in the world in 2001. Tarika has developed a unique blend of traditional Malagasy music with other Indian Ocean musical influences. The lead singer of the group, Hanitrarivo Raoanaivo, recently established a performing arts center, Antshow, dedicated to the promotion of traditional and contemporary Malagasy arts and culture. She has also started a project to train young people in Malagasy musical performing traditions, such as playing the valiha.

Fiber weaving is also a significant tradition in Madagascar. Raffia is dyed and woven into baskets in a remarkably diverse range of colors and designs, for domestic use and export. A rich cloth-weaving tradition also exists, and is arguably the country's most visually compelling art form. The lamba is a versatile cloth wrapper which is worn like a large shawl, with one end draped over the left shoulder. Portraits from the nineteenth century depict Malagasy envoys presenting their credentials abroad adorned in these glorious mantles. In the south, a narrower version was worn as a loincloth. Long the traditional dress, the lamba has fallen out of daily use in the big cities, but can still be seen in the countryside (although, sadly, cheap imported cloth is often substituted for the traditional richly-hued natural fibers). The lamba also plays a significant role as a burial cloth.

The fiber-weaving tradition of Madagascar has recently become more celebrated in the U.S. and Europe. In 2002 the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African Art hosted an exhibition "Gifts and Blessings: The Textile Arts of Madagascar." Traditionally lambas were woven in silk, cotton, raffia, hemp and banana stem fibers. The chief decorative element of the lamba is colored warp (longitudinal) striping, often in a deep red and black, with white, yellow or green accent striping. Sometimes this striping is adorned with geometric motifs in a brocade-like floating weft technique known as akotofahana. Striking specimens of cloths decorated using warp ikat dying and weaving techniques exist from as late as the middle of the nineteenth century, indicating ancient links to Indonesian textile traditions; however, this technique has unfortunately now died out in Madagascar. While many other aspects of the hand-weaving tradition have either disappeared or significantly declined in Madagascar during the twentieth century, there has recently been a small but significant renaissance in this art form. Simon Peers, a British art historian and dealer, has started a studio which produces lambas replicating ancestral models for sale to museums, galleries and collectors. There are several other ateliers and galleries in Tana where hand-woven lambas are made or can be purchased. There is a silkworm project in Ambalavao dedicated to reviving the traditional homespun silk-weaving industry.

Antananarivo has several small museums, including a Museum in the former Prime Minister's Palace housing certain items that were saved from the fire when the Queen's Palace (Rova) burned in 1995. There is also the Museum of Art and Archaeology, located near the Embassy.

The French Cultural Center hosts regular screenings of French-language films. The French and German Cultural Centers regularly host performances by Malagasy, Western, and African artists. The French, German and American Cultural Centers also host occasional lectures, exhibitions, films and forums.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 10/27/2003 0:32 AM

Agriculture dominates the economic life of the 70% of the population living in rural areas - and rice paddies even dot the urban landscape of Antananarivo. The poor performance of the traditional agricultural sector, dominated by subsistence production of staple foods, is a key factor in persistent poverty that keeps 80% of the rural population below the official poverty line. Rice, the main staple crop, accounts for over half of farm output. However, Madagascar, which was self-sufficient in rice until the early 1970s, has since been a net importer. Plots are inefficiently small and productivity is restrained by reliance on traditional cultivation techniques and minimal use of inputs, resulting in yields less than a third of those widely achieved elsewhere. Other major staple crops for local consumption are cassava, corn and sweet potatoes. Cash crops include vanilla, cloves, coffee, sugar cane, cotton, pepper and other spices. Madagascar is traditionally the world's largest producer and exporter of vanilla and a major exporter of cloves. Coffee production has been hit by declining world prices and the local dominance of out-of-favor robusta varieties. Cotton and sugar production have declined, as protected state-owned firms have failed to modernize and boost efficiency. Increased cotton production could anchor a vertically integrated textile industry, supplying raw material for fabric for Madagascar's export-oriented apparel industry.

Fish, from both offshore industrial fishing and aquaculture, are a key export, with Europe as the principal destination. Shrimp accounts for about 70% and tuna about 25% of exports in the sector. The seawater shrimp farming operations have been developed since the early 1990s in response to depletion of offshore stocks. Plantation forestry, based on commercially planted eucalyptus and pine, is replacing logging of native forests, which has seriously diminished the island's unique environmental heritage. Agriculture, including livestock, forestry and fishing, accounted for about 70% of the country's export earnings and generated about 35% of Madagascar's GDP in 2001.

Principal mineral exports are chromite, graphite, and mica. There is a modest amount of gold production. Two large industrial mining projects - for ilmenite and nickel - are in the process of pre-development. Precious and semi-precious gemstones, including rubies and sapphires, are present in Madagascar, but their mining and exploitation occur largely outside the law and thus they contribute little to GDP figures.

Madagascar has a dual industrial sector - Export Processing Zone (EPZ) firms and a range of basic manufacturing serving the domestic market. Nearly 90% of the activity in the EPZ, whose framework legislation was passed in the early 1990s, is concentrated in the apparel sector. Preferential access to U.S. and European markets and the availability of low-cost labor have been key incentives for EPZ investment, largely by foreign interests. EPZ employment reached 100,000 in 2001. The non-EPZ industrial sector produces a wide range of products, but generally needs to adapt to current and future import competition after long years of a protected domestic market.

The commercial banking sector is concentrated, profitable, and dominated by affiliates of foreign banks (four French and two Mauritian). Tourism is another key service industry, with an estimated 170,000 visitors in 2001. Eco-tourism is a principal attraction and three-quarters of the tourists are from Western Europe. Commerce and trading account for one tenth of GDP and several large food and retail stores have recently made a successful entry into the Antananarivo market.

Gross domestic product totaled $4.7 billion in 2001. The economy grew by an average of 4.5% annually from 1997 through 2001, but contracted by 12.7% in 2002 as a result of a political crisis that brought much of the economy to a standstill. The return to political stability and significant donor support is expected to put Madagascar back on its earlier growth trajectory from 2003 onward.

Madagascar's major economic partner is France, which accounts for about 65% of the stock of foreign direct investment in the country. U.S. investment is relatively small, but present in a wide range of sectors (textiles, telecommunications, fishing, handicrafts, mining). In 2000, 38% of Madagascar's imports came from France, 10% from Hong Kong, 5% from Germany (and about 2% from the U.S.). In the same year, France accounted for nearly 41% of Madagascar exports, the U.S. 21.1%, and Germany 7.4%. Overall, Madagascar's major exports are vanilla, shellfish, apparel, and cloves. Aided by preferential trading regimes, including that of the U.S. Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and an export processing zone regime, apparel exports have been the fastest growing export sector. Major imports are crude oil and petroleum products, equipment and capital goods, and consumer goods. U.S.-Madagascar trade tilts heavily in Madagascar's favor. In 2001, Madagascar exported $215.8 million to the U.S. (vanilla and apparel accounting for nearly 95% of exports), while importing only $15.24 million worth of goods from the U.S.

After independence in 1960, Madagascar's first president, Philibert Tsiranana (1960-72) rejected nationalist pressure to reduce the large French role in key sectors of the economy, pragmatically recognizing that the country needed foreign capital to develop. In 1975, Madagascar took a U-turn toward revolutionary socialism with a strong nationalist bent. Admiral Didier Ratsiraka (1975-91), who took over in that year, declared that socialism was the only road to development and promoted special economic relationships with North Korea, the U.S.S.R, and the People's Republic of China. He sought to dismantle "economic neo-colonialism" by nationalizing much of the country's economic infrastructure. His investment plan emphasizing heavy industry and foreign borrowing further contributed to a desperate economic situation and by the 1980s, Ratsiraka's government was forced to turn to the IMF and to accept conditionalities that began a forced rollback of socialist policies, government controls, and state ownership.

At first under pressure from international financial institutions and later on its own initiative, successive Madagascar governments have undertaken macro-economic reforms. A first privatization program (1988-93) and the development of an export processing zone (EPZ) regime beginning in the early 1990s were key milestones in this effort. After significant stagnation in the 1991-96 period, a "new" Ratsiraka was democratically elected in 1996 and he presided over five years of solid economic growth and accelerating foreign investment (driven by a second wave of privatizations and EPZ development).

A six-month political crisis in 2002 (triggered by a contested presidential election involving Ratsiraka and his ultimate successor, Marc Ravalomanana) virtually halted economic activity in much of the country (real GDP dropped 12.7% for the year 2002), caused a sharp drop in inflows of foreign investment, and tarnished Madagascar's developing reputation as a promising place to invest and do business. The new Ravalomanana government, confirmed in power by mid-2002, launched a recovery program and efforts to restore the confidence of economic actors and to convince current and potential foreign investors that the political crisis and its devastating economic side-effects had been a one-time aberration. The Ravalomanana government has been distinctly more pro-American than its predecessors and actively seeks to increase trade and investment between the United States and Madagascar.


Automobiles Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:07 AM

Nearly all Americans will find that a private vehicle is essential for their tour in Madagascar. Traffic moves on the right, thus left-hand drive vehicles are recommended. All Embassy personnel may either import or locally purchase one car duty-free. Plan to ship a car or negotiate to purchase a car from departing personnel; new or used cars purchased locally are quite expensive. Unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel are available. Higher-octane premium gasoline can sometimes be found. In mid-2003, regular unleaded gasoline cost approximately $3.40 per gallon (diplomatic personnel may purchase coupons that reduce the price by approximately one-third). A four-wheel drive is not essential, but may be useful during the rainy season and for trips outside of Antananarivo. Post suggests you also bring a set of license plates for your vehicle in the event that the Malagasy plates are not ready at the time of your car's arrival.

Repair facilities exist for all French makes, most Japanese makes (Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Isuzu), Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW. However, repairing newer model U.S. vehicles could be a challenge for the local mechanics as they may not be familiar with the electronic components. It is often difficult to source replacement parts locally for U.S.-specification vehicles. To minimize this problem, try to bring a vehicle which is in good condition. Employees should bring extra tires, spark plugs, fan belts, oil filters, fuel and air filters, brake pads, oil, automatic transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, etc., since these are either unavailable or quite expensive. Post has a mechanic who services motor pool vehicles and who is sometimes available for after-hours service on a pay basis.

Foreign-made vehicles may be shipped to post at U.S. Government expense in accordance with 6 FAM 165.9. Cars should be routed to the Port of Toamasina (Tamatave). Ship your vehicle well in advance; transit times can be four months or longer. To clear the POV shipment through customs at the port of entry the following documents are needed: former registration title (for a used car), bill of sale, certificate of origin, bill of lading. To register the POV locally, detailed specifications are mandatory. Local dealers can provide such documents; however, the cost varies from dealer to dealer.

A car may be sold here with permission from the Malagasy Government, but import duties are payable unless sold to another person with duty-free status. Payment of the duties depends on the agreement between the seller and buyer (offer with duties included or without duties). As with local POV registration, Government approval of a POV sale requires submission of more detailed specifications than commonly found in owner's manuals. An Embassy FSN can assist in this process. Used cars tend to hold their value well, especially the more common Japanese and French makes.

International driver's licenses are recognized, but are only valid for one year and cannot be renewed for use in Madagascar. Most personnel get a Malagasy license, obtainable on presentation of a valid U.S. license. Third-party auto insurance is obligatory and must be obtained from a company operating in Madagascar. It is not expensive.

Driving in and around Antananarivo is hazardous. Great caution is required to avoid accidents, especially involving pedestrians, small children, and livestock. There are no functioning traffic-control signals, and your expectations of the rules may not match local driving practices - be accommodating. Drive with caution as you circumnavigate potholes, hand-pulled carts (pousse-pousses), and pedestrians. Most city streets and several highways are paved, but are often narrow, in very poor condition, and heavily congested. In the rainy season, it can take up to one and one-half hours for Embassy employees to travel the four miles from the Embassy to their homes in Ivandry.

Many suburban streets and country roads are unpaved, deeply rutted, and rocky. The rainy season causes deep potholes and washouts on the roads, even in Tana. Thus, many employees purchase four-wheel-drive vehicles; although not essential for driving to and from work, they are necessary for exploring some parts of the island. If you choose to bring an ordinary car, it should have high ground-clearance; also, consider installing heavy-duty shock absorbers and steel-belted radials on your car. Low-slung sporty models would ride too close to many of the local streets, inviting damage to the undercarriage, even in town.

Local Transportation Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:08 AM

Vehicles used for public mass transport are rarely used by Americans as they are generally in decrepit condition, crowded, and sometimes unsafe.

Taxis are plentiful in Antananarivo and inexpensive - $1 or $2 (be prepared to bargain) for a ride within the main part of the city during the day. Taxis will take you from the city to the suburbs, but are sometimes difficult to find in suburban areas and in the evening.

Regional Transportation Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:09 AM

Madagascar has two rail systems dating from colonial times. A concession to operate the northern system was granted to a South African-led consortium in 2002. It consists of a line from Antananarivo to the main port of Tamatave, with a spur running north to the rice and chromite region of Lac Alaotra, and second line from Antananarivo 110 miles south to the industrial city of Antsirabe. The Tamatave and Lac Alaotra lines are currently operational for freight. The second system, the Fianarantsoa-East Coast line, carries both freight and passengers between the highland city of Fianarantsoa and the east coast port of Manakara. Railway cars for passenger service are spartan and usually crowded and subject to frequent delays and cancellations The FCE line was recently rehabilitated, in part through USAID funding, and is the subject of a mid-2003 tender offer for an operating concession.

Air Madagascar has frequent domestic service to Antsiranana (Diego Suarez), Toliara (Tulear), Mahajanga, Nosy Be, Nosy Boraha (Ile Sainte Marie), Toamasina (Tamatave), and Taolagnaro (Ft. Dauphin). As of mid-2003, Air Madagascar serves the following international points: Paris, Mauritius, Reunion, Johannesburg, and Nairobi. Air France and Corsair provide air service to Paris and Air Austral, Air Mauritius, and Inter Air provide regional international service. Domestic and international air fares are generally quite expensive.

For the adventurous, a network of taxibrousse (private vans that take on passengers for a fee) provides service along virtually every road in the country.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 10/27/2003 0:33 AM

Local phone service is acceptable. The Embassy provides personnel with phones and pays installation costs. Employees pay for their residential bills, which average $30 per month plus any long-distance charges. There are now three mobile phone operators operating in Antananarivo, and many Americans subscribe to these services.

Most Embassy personnel purchase phone cards from a U.S. carrier to make personal international phone calls. Subject to availability, the Embassy switchboard can access a U.S. toll-free number (IVG line) from home or office phones for placing such calls. Using the local telephone system to make international calls is quite expensive.

Internet Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:12 AM

Internet access is available in Madagascar, usually via telephone modem connection, which can be quite slow. Internet usage is relatively expensive, taking into account subscription charges and telephone line usage fees.

Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 10/27/2003 0:34 AM

Weekly international airmail deliveries are scheduled to and from Europe and the U.S. International mail to and from Europe takes about 5 days, and averages from 10 days to 3 weeks to and from the U.S. The American Mission address for international mail is:

(Name) Ambassade Americaine B.P. 620 101 Antananarivo, Madagascar

There are several private companies that providing commercial express mail service for letters and packages, but this service is quite expensive.

Antananarivo receives surface-to-air pouches. Since no APO or FPO facilities exist in Antananarivo, Embassy personnel are authorized use of the Embassy's air pouch to receive and send letter mail. Incoming packages are limited to 40 pounds in weight, may not exceed 24 inches in length, and cannot exceed 62 inches in combined length and girth. Delivery of packages takes about 4 weeks. Outgoing packages are limited to flat material. The address for surface-to-air items is:

(Name) 2040 Antananarivo Place Dulles, VA 20189-2040

While there are provisions that permit employees at hardship posts to receive limited consumables shipments through the pouch, employees are reminded that prohibitions to the use of the pouch to send items to circumvent the UAB limits exist.

U.S. postage stamps are occasionally available in the Embassy commissary; however, it is best to bring a supply with you.

Pouch mail now comes via Paris twice a week. Count on at least 10 days transit time for personal letters.

Radio and TV Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:17 AM

Antananarivo has a growing number of local radio stations (currently about 30, including two State-run stations). The Voice of America (on air for seven hours a day in Antananarivo), Radio Netherlands, the BBC and RFI also broadcast under governmental convention. Most broadcasts (except those by foreign networks) are in Malagasy.

The Office de la Radio et de la Television Malagasy (ORTM), founded in 1996, is composed of the formerly state-run National Television and Radio. This entity was created to make the formerly state-controlled media more responsive to a liberalized economy. ORTM also delivers authorization and regulates the broadcasting environment. A shortwave radio is needed for other overseas broad-casts.

National Television, TVM, is the only station that can be watched in most parts of the country. Reception difficulties may occur, however, because of weather and topography. Malagasy is the main language, but there are some news broadcasts in French and English. Entertainment programs are often in French. In addition to TVM, six private television stations broadcast from Antananarivo. Many Americans increase the scope of viewing possibilities by acquiring satellite dishes. The cost of the equipment and the subscription for satellite TV service can be quite high.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:17 AM

There are presently five daily (except Sunday) and two weekly independent newspapers, published in either French or Malagasy. Coverage of international issues in these papers is minimal. The first English-language paper, the weekly Madagascar News, appeared in 2003.

Virtually no other English-language magazines or newspapers are sold in Madagascar, although recent back issues are available on an ad hoc basis from street vendors. Some current French periodicals are regularly available. European airmail subscriptions to Time, Newsweek, the International Herald Tribune, etc., arrive within 2-3 days of publication, but are expensive. Mission personnel may order subscriptions at U.S. domestic rates via surface-to-air pouch; delivery takes 4-6 weeks.

The Malagasy Government Ministry of Information prepares a daily summary news bulletin in French. A French language sampler of stories from the Malagasy press is published weekly. No English-language books are sold in Antananarivo. Major bookstores have stocks of French classics and paperbacks at high prices. It is quite common to order books through the internet for delivery in 2-3 weeks via the pouch.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 10/31/2003 1:54 AM

Health concerns include: Malaria, hepatitis, schistosomiasis, rabies, typhoid, intestinal parasites, cysticercosis, poison shark meat, and plague. Automobile accidents are common and local facilities are poorly equipped. AIDS has been documented in low but growing numbers.

Medical Resources and Facilities: The Embassy maintains a small but adequately equipped Health Unit staffed by a Foreign Service Nurse Practitioner (FSNP), and an RN. The Regional Medical Officer, based in Pretoria, visits post as necessary, usually twice a year. The Regional Psychiatric Officer, also based in Pretoria, visits periodically.

The RN can treat minor ailments, keep your immunizations current, and assist in making appointments with local physicians. The FSNP can treat most conditions normally seen in a typical Family Practice Clinic or Urgent Care Center.

The doctor currently used by the Embassy is an English-speaking Malagasy surgeon trained in the U.S. who has privileges at a small hospital, the Clinique des Soeurs. Clinique des Soeurs which has a relatively high standard of cleanliness, but suffers from a shortage of supplies and inadequate services and is not equivalent to a U.S. standard facility. The Military Hospital has one French physician per Department, but no coverage when one of the doctors is on leave. Serious medical problems, or conditions requiring sophisticated diagnostic procedures or surgery, will result in medical evacuation, either to Pretoria or the nearby island of Réunion. South Africa offers excellent medical and hospital facilities, as does Réunion, which is part of France.

Basic dental services are available in Madagascar, but it is recommended that dental work be done prior to arrival. Some people have opted to have more sophisticated dental work, such as crowns and root canals, performed here at the Adventist Dental Clinic and the service has been satisfactory. Evacuation for dental problems is authorized only under specific circumstances and the treatment authorized at Government expense is limited.


Recommended: Hepatitis A&B, rabies, DT, polio, typhoid, yellow fever, influenza (all available at the Health Unit)

Malaria Prophylaxis: Mefloquine (appropriate dose for age), taken weekly, or Doxycycline, taken daily. There are rare cases of malaria in Antananarivo. Insect repellent for adults is available in the Health Unit. Repellent for children should be brought with you.

Fluoride Supplementation: The water supply in Madagascar is not fluoridated. To prevent tooth decay, fluoride supplements are recommended for children. Multivitamins are recommended if distilled water is the primary drinking water.

Walking Blood Bank: There are no recommended blood bank facilities in the country. Have documentation of blood type and register for a "Walking Blood Bank" program in the Health Unit.

Health Precautions: Distillers are provided in homes and work places. Fruits and vegetables should be soaked in chlorinated water for 15 minutes. Avoid wading in fresh water, in order to reduce the risk of schistosomiasis. Bring flea control for pets to avoid plague-carrying fleas. Avoid ingesting any shark meat to prevent ciguetera poisoning. Avoid eating undercooked foods and cold foods in restaurants.

Medical Supplies: Bring an adequate supply of prescription drugs and forms to order more from your insurance plan, an extra pair of glasses, your lens prescription, and sufficient contact lens supplies for your tour. Imported sunscreen, insect repellent, and most over-the-counter medications are available, but expensive. You may want to bring special formulations for small children.

The FSNP will be happy to take care of your minor prescriptions for the short term or in case of emergency. The Health Unit supplies malaria prophylaxis, but does not provide other long-term medications.

Community Health Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:19 AM

There is a high level of pollution from automobiles and dust in Antananarivo. This, combined with sudden temperature changes, contributes to a high incidence of respiratory infections. A French physician has termed the conditions here "pleasantly unhealthful."

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:20 AM

Antananarivo's water supply is from impounded surface water. The distribution system is quite ancient, and the possibility of illness from contaminated water is high, especially during the rainy season. The sewage system is poor. Boil all water before using for drinking or cooking or use water from your distiller.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 10/27/2003 0:36 AM

The Mission encourages spousal employment and has a number of positions that may be filled by eligible family members, including Community Liaison Officer, RSO secretary, assistant General Services Officer and newsletter editor. In addition, spouses are occasionally employed to assist with specific projects.

The American School is receptive to qualified applicants from the Mission community and two spouses of Mission employees are presently employed there. USAID also occasionally has positions open to qualified family member applicants.

Spouses have been employed to manage the American Recreation Association from time-to-time. The Embassy also has an active summer hire program for high school and college student family members. Eligible Family Members considering employment within the Mission should, for some positions, have or be able to obtain at minimum a Secret security clearance, and family members seeking certain positions must have or be able to obtain a Top Secret clearance. The Embassy will assist family members in completing and submitting the required security clearance paperwork.

There may be some opportunities for spousal employment on the local market, particularly for those with professional skills and/or experience in the field of development. Such opportunities include private sector employment and consulting for international organizations. At present, there is no bilateral work agreement with Madagascar; thus it is necessary to obtain a work permit to work on the local market. The Embassy has proposed a bilateral work agreement to the Government of Madagascar and is awaiting its reply.

American Embassy - Antananarivo

Post City Last Updated: 10/27/2003 0:37 AM

Antananarivo (commonly referred to as Tana) is the capital city and principal population center of Madagascar. No reliable population statistics exist (the last census dates from 1993), but estimates put the figure at about 2,000,000.

Antananarivo is a city of contrasts: you will be charmed by its setting amid a dozen hills; the vestiges of picturesque brick colonial-era houses, with their elaborately carved balcony railings; the still-impressive Queen's Palace (Rova) capping the central hill (although sadly gutted by fire in 1995, the stone skeleton remains intact); central Lake Anosy, surrounded in springtime by clouds of lavender-flowering jacaranda trees. On the other hand, you will be put off by the pollution, infuriating traffic snarls, decrepit condition of many buildings, roads and other infrastructure, and especially by the abject poverty of most of its citizens, visibly evident by the shanty dwellings that are found everywhere in the town. Rice fields, marshes, lakes, and growing suburbs flood the vast and fertile plains surrounding the city.

Antananarivo lies on the high plateau. It was built on and around steep hills, with the oldest section, the Haute-Ville, crowning the highest ridge at an elevation of 4,750 feet. It has successively been a tribal, monarchical, colonial, and national capital since 1794. Known as Tananarive during the period of French colonization, the city's name was restored to its Malagasy spelling in 1975.

European and traditional Malagasy elements mingle intimately in the streets. The heights are reached by webs of narrow streets or steep stairways and feature balconied, brick buildings clinging precariously to the steep slopes.

Madagascar achieved independence from France in 1960. Since that time, many of the buildings (in fact, much of the infrastructure) have not been changed or improved. Although some new roads have been built, the majority of the old ones have not been repaired or upgraded. Since the capital's population has burgeoned, many lack adequate housing.

Security Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:43 AM

Post security advice is to avoid political gatherings and street demonstrations and to maintain security awareness at all times. Airports and military installations should not be photographed. The major concerns in Antananarivo are petty street crime and theft from residences and vehicles. Although not generally aggressive, incidents involving violence by criminals, particularly when the victim resists, are on the rise. Walking at night, whether alone or in a group, is not considered safe in urban areas, including in the vicinity of Western-standard hotels. Organized gangs of bandits are known to patrol areas where foreigners, who are perceived to be wealthy, congregate. Wearing expensive jewelry or carrying expensive items such as cameras while on foot or while using public transportation is strongly discouraged. Valuable items should never be left in an unattended vehicle. Although crimes such as burglary do occur in areas outside the capital, the threat of confrontational crime is less common in rural areas. Night travel in private or public conveyances outside Antananarivo is discouraged due to poor lighting and road conditions.

Visitors to several popular tourist areas, including Nosy Be in the northwest, Ile Ste. Marie in the east, Fort Dauphin in the south, and the Tulear/Isalo National park corridor in the southwest, should guard against being taken advantage of by unscrupulous individuals posing as guides or claiming to operate in an official capacity. Individuals should be alert at all times to the potential for theft and should never entrust valuable items to an unknown party.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 10/27/2003 0:37 AM

The U.S. Government named its first commercial agent in Madagascar, resident in Tamatave, in 1866 when the island was an independent kingdom.

The two countries concluded their first bilateral agreement, a Treaty of Peace and Commerce, in 1867, and signed a Treaty of Peace, Friendship, and Commerce in 1883. The long history of U.S. diplomatic presence was interrupted twice when the post was closed from 1933 to 1941 and again from 1954 to 1959. The Consulate was elevated to Embassy status on June 26, 1960, when Madagascar gained independence from France.

Mission personnel include an Ambassador and personnel of the Department of State, USAID, the Defense Attaché's Office, and the Peace Corps.

The Chancery is a five-story building located in downtown Antananarivo, at 14-16 rue Lalana Rainitovo, in the Antsahavola neighborhood. It houses Department of State personnel and the Defense Attaché's Office. The telephone number is 261-20-22-212-57; fax number is 261-20-22-345-39.

The Public Affairs Section of the Embassy runs an American Information Center just up the street from the Embassy. It is a small-scale reference library which provides up-to-date information about the United States through reference materials, databases and online resources both to Americans working in Madagascar and to decision- and opinion-makers in Madagascar. It is not a circulating library, but it does have extensive book collections that can be used on site.

The Public Affairs Section also runs an American Cultural Center, located at 7 rue Rainizanabololona, Antanimena, Antananarivo, which is also home to the American Press Center, the Academic Advising Center, the English Teaching Program, and the Multi Purpose Room. The telephone number for the Cultural Center is 22-202-38. The local postal address for the Embassy is:

Ambassade des Etats Unis d' Amerique Boite Postale 620 101 Antananarivo, Madagascar

USAID offices are currently located in Anosy, at Villa Vonisoa III, Avenue Dr. Ravoahangy. The telephone number is 261-20-22-254-89 and the fax number is 261-20-22-348-83. Its postal address is:

USAID B.P. 5253 Antananarivo 101, Madagascar

USAID is scheduled to move to a new location around the start of calendar 2004. The U.S. Government provides $25-30 million dollars per year in foreign assistance to Madagascar, most of it administered through the U.S. Agency for International Development. Since 1981, the U.S. has provided more than $556 million in aid to Madagascar through grants, food assistance, and concessional sales of commodities. USAID's principal development strategies focus on Democracy and Governance, Health, Population and Nutrition, Environment and Rural Development, and Agriculture and Trade. The overall goal of the USAID new strategy for FY 2003-2008 is sustainable and inclusive economic development.

The main Peace Corps office is in the Ivandry suburb where most Embassy housing is located and its training center is on Lake Mantasoa, some 70 kilometers east of Tana. The first Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in Madagascar in 1993 and there will soon be over 130 volunteers throughout the country. Madagascar volunteers currently work in three areas:

* TOFL: Volunteers teach English in the secondary schools. Peace Corps teachers and their counterparts also use English teaching as a vehicle to promote understanding of community development issues such as AIDS awareness, gender equality, and environmental conservation.

* Environment: Volunteers work under the direction of the Ministry of Water and Forests in collaboration with organizations such as the Worldwide Fund for Wildlife (WWF); the Malagasy national parks service, ANGAP; Catholic Relief Services; and local community associations. The main focus has been on environmental protection in and around parks and reserves, initiation and support of environmental education, and community forestry and ecotourism projects. Volunteers have become increasingly involved in agricultural projects such as intensive rice farming, fruit tree production, and beekeeping.

* Health: Volunteers work with the Ministry of Health and various NGOs, primarily on mother-child health care and AIDS education and prevention. The focus is on health education for local communities.

In addition to official personnel and their dependents, approximately 360 other Americans live in Madagascar. U.S. visitors include a modest number of U.S. tourists, business people, and scientists.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:26 AM

When permanent housing is not immediately available, the Mission attempts to accommodate new arrivals in other vacant houses pending availability of their permanent residences. Other possibilities include a rented room at the American Recreation Association (ARA), located in Ivandry, the Madagascar Hilton or the Hotel Colbert. The Colbert has just been renovated and is within walking distance of the Embassy. The Colbert offers a limited selection of fitness and health facilities. The Hilton offers facilities such as a swimming pool and tennis courts. Rooms are usually without heat and can be chilly during winter months.

Permanent Housing Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:27 AM

The Interagency Housing Board assigns new employees to their housing. Housing is quite adequate by American standards, but floor plans may be somewhat odd. None of the houses have central heating, but all have fireplaces and the Embassy supplies portable electric heaters.

The U.S. Government owns the Ambassador's residence with its five bedrooms, four baths, two half-baths, modern kitchen, and large living-dining area, which is ideal for representational purposes. A large attractive garden is sometimes used for outdoor entertaining.

Furnishings Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:27 AM

All Embassy-provided housing is adequately furnished with standard living, dining, and bedroom groupings. Other furnishings include a refrigerator, freezer, electric stove, microwave, distiller, washer, dryer, carpets, and draperies. Post's selection of upholstery, drapery, and curtain materials is limited. Post is unable to fulfill special requests. Bring a crib, high chair, and other special-needs items. Locally made furnishings are below American standards, and imported items can be quite expensive. Ceiling fans are installed in each occupied bedroom. Bring other fans for use in other rooms during the summer.

Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:28 AM

All houses occupied by U.S. Government personnel have hot and cold running water in kitchens and bathrooms; plumbing is adequate. Stall showers are rare, as most bathrooms only have tubs.

The electrical current in Antananarivo is both110v and 220v, 50-cycle, AC. Newer homes are wired for 220v, but others are a mixture and special care is required in plugging in appliances. Voltage is uneven, and spikes and brownouts are common. Moreover, occasional spikes caused by lightning can damage computers, stereos, or other electronic equipment. A voltage stabilizer/regulator and surge suppressor or UPS are recommended for all sensitive electrical/electronic equipment. Telephone line surge protectors are also recommended, to help protect modems and other sensitive telecommunications equipment. Many people make a habit of unplugging video machines, computers, stereos, etc., when not in use, to protect the equipment.

Prior to arriving at post, inquire about the electrical current in your prospective residence, so you may bring the appropriate equipment. The Embassy provides a limited number of transformers, but you may wish to bring extras. American-French adapter plugs are available from GSO. Small appliances can sometimes be found locally, but are often expensive.

One phone is provided for each home. American phones can be used, but most require adapter plugs. These can be bought cheaply on the local market.

Food Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:29 AM

Food supplies in Tana are plentiful and easy to obtain. There are currently three large international grocery chains which permit most Americans to source virtually all their food and household supply needs on the local market. Certain imported items are more expensive here and some specialty items are not available; Mission employees generally procure such items through their consumables shipments.

Madagascar is primarily an agricultural country. A wide variety of fresh, locally-grown vegetables is available in Antananarivo. Madagascar's varied climate permits the production of both tropical fruits (including banana, papaya, mangoes, litchis, guava, and passion fruit) and temperate climate fruits (including apples, peaches, plums, and strawberries). Most fresh produce is seasonal and may not be available year round.

Bread, long-life milk, pasteurized milk, juice, yogurt, eggs, coffee, tea, rice, pasta, and a wide variety of canned goods and packaged items are available in Antananarivo. There are few microwavable prepared dishes. Fresh meats, including beef, pork, chicken, duck, lamb, and veal are available at the large grocery chains. Fresh and frozen seafood are also available. The quality is good and the price is reasonable. Ham, charcuterie and a limited selection of cheeses from Europe are available but the price is high. A limited range of Madagascar-produced cheeses is also available.

Some wines are produced in the highlands around Fianarantsoa and Ambalavao. The quality is quite variable, but in general, few Americans find the local wine up to international standards. French and South African wines can be found on the market but are slightly more expensive than in the U.S. (about $7.00 a bottle and up). Good quality beer, soft drinks, and soda and tonic water are bottled locally. Diet sodas are not available. Imported beers are available but expensive. Local liquor prices are high.

The Antananarivo Recreation Association has a small commissary with membership open to all American U.S. Government employees. An initial, non-refundable capital fee ($100 for families and $50 for single employees) is required for membership.

Inventory at the commissary is quite limited and includes cheese, meats such as bacon and hot dogs, a limited selection of soft drinks and juices, liquor and wine (mostly from France and South Africa), and crackers and cookies. The commissary's inventory is imported by air from South Africa and once a year from the United States, so most items are expensive. Plan to use your consumables allowance and any available household effects allowance to ship foodstuffs and household supplies to post, particularly if you have infants, pets, or special dietary needs. The CLO will supply a list of items which are recommended for bringing in your consumables allowance.

The snackbar adjacent to the Mission offers weekday lunch selections of sandwiches, hot meals, salads, drinks, and desserts.

Clothing Last Updated: 10/27/2003 0:38 AM

Cotton and other washable materials are suitable for summer clothing. A light-weight raincoat and umbrella are needed during the rainy season. Due to its high altitude, the winter season is much colder in Tana than many people anticipate. Since homes in Antananarivo do not presently have central heating and can be quite drafty, temperatures inside the home can be lower than some find comfortable. Bring wool sweaters or fleece garments, long sleeve shirts, long pants, and warm socks and slippers to ensure comfort indoors in winter, and medium-weight jackets for outdoor wear. Evening wear is not formal in Antananarivo, and weekend clothing is casual.

Ready-made blouses, skirts, and dresses are difficult to find in stores and in the marketplace, especially for tall or large sizes. Although a significant amount of textile manufacturing is done in-country and some export-quality clothing can occasionally be found, this is hit-or-miss as factory outlets are not a well-developed concept here. Most people bring what they will need to post, especially "high-tech" athletic clothing, fleece, and shoes.

Some people have clothing tailor-made here. Prices for tailoring are quite reasonable, but results are variable. Some excellent quality cottons are available and other types of fabric can be found but selection is limited. It is best to import a supply of notions since thread, zippers, and the like are of poor quality.

Clothing is also commonly ordered for delivery through the pouch, although delivery times can be long. Footwear that you bring should reflect the poor conditions of the streets and sidewalks (and the lack thereof). In the rainy season, expect to encounter muddy conditions - bring appropriate footwear, especially for children, who spend a great amount of time outdoors here.

Men Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:30 AM

Men: Those who deal frequently with Malagasy officials usually wear coat and tie. Wool suits are appropriate for winter; a sweater can be added when necessary. A dark suit is appropriate for evening occasions. Formal wear is generally not required.

Women Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:30 AM

Women: Employees need standard office attire. Evening wear varies and includes pantsuits, dresses, and skirts or slacks with a jacket or sweater. Slacks and jeans are fine for casual wear.

Children Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:31 AM

Children: Children spend a great deal of time outdoors here and will need plenty of hard-wearing casual clothing. Shorts are often worn in the summer, but warmer pants, jackets, hats, fleece garments, sweatshirts and the like will be needed in the winter. Girl's clothing, especially dresses, is easy to find here but the selection for boys is much more limited.

Some people have had pants and shirts made here for their children. Good quality corduroy and chino cloth are readily found and tailoring for such items is inexpensive. Remember to bring warm pajamas, bathrobes, and slippers for winter evenings.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:32 AM

Large pharmacies, supermarkets, and hardware stores are well-stocked, although rarely with U.S. brands. Certain imported items are much more expensive here than in the U.S. Plan for your family's special needs for the length of your tour and bring in your consumables or household effects shipment items that cannot be ordered via pouch from mail order firms in the U.S.

The rule of thumb on personal and household products is to bring what you know, trust, like, and would miss if you lacked it! Bring a supply of toiletries as prices here can be high and you will probably not find your preferred brand. The range of familiar cosmetics brands is very limited. Bring stationery supplies, gift wrapping paper and greeting cards (cards here are in French), small hardware items, kitchen utensils, flashlight, batteries, coat hangers, car-care needs, household linens, and gardening supplies Bring supplies for your favorite sports, such as tennis and golf balls, and snorkeling/diving gear. Crafts supplies, such as embroidery thread, yarn, patterns, and sewing notions should be brought if you will want them. Musical instruments (i.e. rental instruments for children), and the supplies for them, are not available here.

Specialty cleaning supplies may not be available here. Cleaning products imported from France are expensive. To avoid the problems of dry cleaning, bring spot remover.

Infant furniture, baby bottles, formula, baby food, diapers, wipes, and other supplies are expensive and the range is limited; most families import these items. Toys are expensive and the selection quite limited. You should bring toys with you which are appropriate for your children for the duration of your assignment. It is also a good idea to bring a supply of birthday gifts (both for your own children and to give away at birthday parties), invitations, party favors and party decorations.

Large toys, such as modular plastic playground equipment, basketball hoops, bikes, tricycles, ride-on cars, and the like, that can be sent through HHE will be much appreciated here by your children and their friends. Such items are either unavailable here or quite expensive. They can easily be sold when you leave if your children have outgrown them. Many such items are too large to fit in pouch shipments and thus cannot be ordered after you arrive, so plan ahead.

Seasonal décorations, such as for Halloween, Thanks-giving, Christmas, Hannukah, Easter, etc., are not readily obtainable here. Bring them if they are important to you.

Basic Services Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:32 AM

Dry cleaning is of fair quality and not expensive. Haircutting salons for men, women and children are variable, and some are of excellent quality. Salons may not always have hair-coloring products, so it's best to bring your own supply.

Repair services for U.S. appliances are scarce to nonexistent. Spare parts are usually not available and must be ordered from the U.S. or South Africa.

Shoe repair is available but of poor quality and workmanship. French shoe wax is available here.

Domestic Help Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:33 AM

Most people employ at least one domestic employee while they are posted here, to handle chores such as cleaning, laundry, cooking and childcare. Some families, especially those with children, employ two or more domestics.

Domestics usually work a 5-day workweek and get 30 days paid vacation plus pay for a "13th month" after being with an employer one year, as well as a Christmas bonus or gift. Some people arrange a schedule for a six-day work week. Domestics with childcare responsibility will usually work in the evening for extra payment and taxi fare to return home. Salaries are usually around $100 per month, and employers provide lunch, bus fare, and uniforms. Some servants will live in, but most do not because of the importance of family life in the Malagasy culture. For the same reason, and also due to the difficulty of finding public transport after dark, many domestics are reluctant to work evening hours. All servants must be covered by work-accident insurance and social security. Annual physical examinations, including x-rays and tuberculosis testing, are recommended for all servants.

Extra help for receptions or dinner parties can usually be arranged through friends or colleagues.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 11/10/2003 2:26 PM

The Roman Catholic, Anglican, Reformed Protestant, Lutheran, Congregational, Baptist, Seventh-day Adventist, and Greek Orthodox denominations are represented in Antananarivo, but most services are in the Malagasy language. There are some services in English and French. There are also several mosques.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:34 AM Madagascar's school system, formerly based on the French system, probably would not be useful to American children.

The American School of Antananarivo was founded in 1969 as an independent coeducational school. It offers an American education from preschool through grade 12. Music, art, French, computer, and physical education courses are offered to all students. The school is accredited through the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and recognized and supported by the Office of Overseas Schools of the Department of State.

The academic year, which is divided into four quarters, is from late August through early June. The school day runs from 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. After-school activities are offered daily. Children do not go home for lunch, but bring a snack and pack a lunch for school. Uniforms are not worn. Children wear clothes similar to those they would wear in the U.S. All books and school supplies are provided by the school. Transportation is the responsibility of the family.

The school is located in the suburb of Ivandry, four miles away from Antananarivo. It has fifteen classrooms, a library/computer center/video center, an assembly/activities room, a large playground, music/band room and a playing field.

There are several private primary and secondary schools, some affiliated with the Catholic Church, providing instruction in French. Secular schools include several Ecoles Primaires Françaises for grades 1 to 5, and the French Government Lycée for older children.

It may be difficult for older children not fluent in French to transfer into the French system. American children find the French system more rigid, with more homework and less emphasis on sports and extracurricular activities. Lessons in music and ballet can be arranged. Swimming, tennis, horseback riding, and golf lessons are also available through one of the private sports clubs (see below under Recreation).

Away From Post Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:35 AM Some parents send their older children to school in the U.S. or to boarding schools in other countries. Others have employed a correspondence school system to teach their children at home.

Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:36 AM

A good knowledge of French is essential for conducting business in Madagascar, and for enjoying a varied social life. Some knowledge of the Malagasy language is useful, but not essential. The Embassy offers French and Malagasy language instruction for Mission employees and family members. The Alliance Française offers a French language instruction program. Malagasy language instruction is also available.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 10/27/2003 0:39 AM

The Embassy proper does not have any recreational facilities. However, the Ambassador's residence has a swimming pool and tennis courts and the DCM's house has a swimming pool. These facilities are traditionally made available to Embassy personnel and their families several days per week during the summer season.

The American Recreation Association in Ivandry offers a volleyball court. There are two tennis courts at a nearby club, where court use and/or lessons can be easily arranged at a reasonable cost either on an ad hoc basis or through membership.

Most other sports facilities in Antananarivo are available only through membership in a private club. The Golf du Rova, a private club in a beautiful, wooded setting about 15 miles from the city, has a good 18-hole course and a competent instructor who speaks English. Lunch and dinner are served in the clubhouse and a large, well-maintained swimming pool is open from September to May. Membership is required.

The Association Culturelle et Sportive d' Ambohidahy (ACSA) in the city's center is a popular spot for lunch. The club offers tennis, squash, swimming, billiards, and bridge.

The Club Olympique de Tananarive (C.O.T) offers clay tennis courts, swimming, and excellent horseback riding instruction (in French). Other horseback riding and swimming facilities are found at the Club Carousel. Both are on the road to Ambohimanga about 4 miles from Ivandry.

The Madagascar Hilton Hotel has a swimming pool with a nominal entrance fee. A private gym near the suburb of Ivandry offers modern exercise equipment and classes.

Coastal waters off Madagascar offer excellent swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving opportunities. Many areas of the Madagascar coastline are reef-protected and these are generally safe from sharks; however there are certain areas, such as the east coast near Tamatave, where swimming is not advised. Primary destinations for snorkeling and diving include Nosy Be and the beaches north and south of Tulear. Regular air service is available to Tulear and to the islands of Nosy Be and Ile Sainte Marie, however air fare is expensive. If you decide to drive to Tulear instead of flying, a four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended.

The suburban neighborhood of Ivandry, where most Mission families live, is quite hospitable to jogging and walking. Bicycling is also a popular activity. An all-terrain type bicycle is recommended as the most rewarding cycling is along the small digue paths (dikes) that border the many rice paddies in and around Tana, which are not traveled by cars or buses.

There are a number of interesting hiking and picnic spots in the immediate area of Antananarivo. An active and very international group of hikers/runners participate in a bi-weekly HASH in the countryside surrounding Antananarivo. Bring all sporting equipment with you since it is scarce and extremely expensive here.

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 10/27/2003 0:39 AM

The varied climate, scenery, and vegetation found in Madagascar offer myriad opportunities for photographers and nature lovers in search of plants, animals, and scenery found nowhere else on earth. Some excursions require a four-wheel-drive vehicle, but many interesting spots can be reached by paved highways. Many destinations are located on or near the RN7 which extends nearly 600 miles from Antananarivo to Tulear on the southwest coast.

There are several popular weekend getaway spots within a two-to-three hour drive from Tana. Lake Mantasoa offers sailing, water sports, and swimming. It is a popular destination for Mission personnel, several of whom have rented weekend houses there. Andasibe-Mantadia, just off the road to Tamatave about three hours from Tana, is situated at the edge of the eastern rainforest. It is the most accessible of Madgascar's national parks. It offers excellent opportunities for viewing lemurs, chameleons, and other wildlife in their natural habitat and also offers enjoyable hiking through secondary forest. Other weekend possibilities are Lake Itasy to the west and Antsirabe (the pousse-pousse capital of Madagascar with a charming colonial-era hotel featuring a large garden, pool and tennis court) to the south.

Touring possibilities in Madagascar are too numerous to list comprehensively. It is a naturalist's wonder. Madagascar has 18 national parks and numerous other reserves, both public and private, which offer an incredible diversity of landscape and fauna. From the beautiful beaches of Nosy Be, Ile Sainte Marie, and Tulear; the weird, towering karst pinnacles known as "tsingy" (which means needle in Malagasy) in the Bemaraha and Ankarena reserves; the spiny desert in the south; the Avenue of Baobabs in the west; the soaring granite outcroppings of Andringitra (a world-class rock climbing destination); to the Parc National d'Isalo, with its eroded sandstone formations resembling those of the Southwest United States, Madagascar offers a panoply of touring possibilities.

While the "getting-there" is often rough and time-consuming (Madagascar is almost 1000 miles long and roads are often poor) it is also part of the pleasure. While you may often have to "rough-it" on the road, some of these destinations, such as the Parc National d'Isalo, several sites on Nosy Be, Andasibe, etc., offer world-class tourist accommodation. Increasing eco-tourism and improving roads are stated priorities of the present government; thus one can anticipate improving logistics in the future.

Indian Ocean vacation possibilities include Mauritius, Réunion, and the Seychelles. There are non-stop flights to Mauritius and Réunion and connecting service to the Seychelles. Currently, thrice weekly flights to Johannesburg and a weekly flight to Nairobi link Madagascar to vacation spots in South Africa and East Africa

Entertainment Last Updated: 10/27/2003 0:40 AM

Antananarivo's restaurant scene is quite satisfactory and includes establishments specializing in Chinese, French, Indian, Italian, Korean, and Malagasy cuisine. There are several nightclubs in and around Antananarivo, as well as several casinos.

The zoological and botanical park of Tsimbazaza, located on the south side of Tana, features lemurs, birds, crocodiles, tortoises, and other species indigenous to Madagascar. A small museum featuring natural history and ethnological exhibits is located within the zoo's perimeters.

There is a small lemur reserve in a picturesque site along a river about 14 miles west of Tana. The Croc Farm, a crocodile farm and botanical park, situated near the airport, is a good destination for an outing with children. The Queen's Palace, or Rova, is under renovation after a fire gutted the structure in November 1995. Articles that were saved from the fire are on display in a museum in the former Palace of the Prime Minister adjacent to the Rova. Soccer matches are played at the large stadium in Antananarivo on Saturday and Sunday afternoons during winter.

While the world-renowned Zoma market, which used to take place weekly along the Avenue de l'Independence, no longer exists, there are several markets where one can shop for fine examples of local handicrafts. These include the Digue market, the Andravoanghy artisanal market, and the Coum market and Village Artisanal at 67 Hectares. Whether your tastes run to raffia basketry, embroidery, handwoven lambas, gemstones, ammonites and other fossils, batik or woodworking, there is something for everyone.

The quality of the light, the hazeless skies, and wealth of subject matter make Antananarivo a delight to the photographer. Bring a good supply of all photographic needs. Film can be processed here; however, some staff members prefer to send their film to the U.S. via pouch for processing.

Social Activities Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:40 AM

Social life can be as busy as you wish and depends greatly upon your own initiative and resourcefulness. Cultural opportunities are limited in Antananarivo. Among many Americans, social life revolves around informal entertaining - dinner and perhaps a video - in the home. The ARA has a library of VHS video cassette movies that can be rented. Many Americans subscribe to satellite TV stations offering hundreds of channels. The cost for such service, and for the necessary equipment, is quite expensive.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:41 AM

The Ambassador, Deputy Chief of Mission, and agency heads maintain active representational schedules, in which other Embassy employees are expected to participate in varying degrees. Receptions or dinners at home and lunches and dinners at restaurants are typical representational events.

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:41 AM

All staff members are expected to assist the Ambassador and senior officers as needed in entertaining host country guests and official visitors. Protocol rules, with respect to calls on host country officials and heads of diplomatic missions, apply only to the Ambassador, but other officers are encouraged to call on Malagasy and diplomatic counterparts as appropriate to their position. Employees can have business cards printed at the Embassy on their arrival.

Special Information Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:42 AM

Post Orientation Program

A sponsorship program is well established at Post. Each new arrival is assigned a social sponsor and a work sponsor. New arrivals will be met at the airport by their sponsor, who assists them in getting settled into their new home and in finding their way around. The CLO has established an orientation program for new arrivals which is given periodically. Welcome Kit information packets, containing a basic primer for life in Madagascar, are provided to new arrivals. Soon after arrival, the CLO arranges a city tour/orientation.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:45 AM

Air travel from the U.S. to Antananarivo is usually via Paris (the most direct route) on Air France or Air Madagascar. An alternative route is via South Africa, which usually entails an overnight stop in Johannesburg.

Household effects and vehicles shipped from the U.S. are sent by surface to ELSO Antwerp, Belgium. Household effects are trans-shipped by air from Antwerp to Antananarivo, and privately-owned vehicles (POVs) are sent by sea to the Port of Toamasina (Tamatave). POVs are transported in the container from Tamatave to Antananarivo by road. Consider sending your vehicle well in advance, as transit time can be four months or longer. To enable post to prepare in advance all clearing documents for POV shipments, post requires in advance the following: certificate of origin (showing the make, year, model, and vehicle identification number), or former registration title; the bill of sale (even for used cars); and copy of diplomatic passport.

To enable post to prepare in advance all clearing documents for household effects and unaccompanied air baggage shipments, the following information is needed: packing lists (required by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), marking address, number of pieces, and weight. This information enables the Embassy expediter to pick up the shipment soon after it arrives at the airport, thus avoiding storage payment.

All effects must be well packed. Most shipments arrive at post in good condition, but cars often arrive scratched and with minor dents; outside mirrors, cigarette lighters, and radios are frequently missing.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:45 AM

All personnel assigned to the post have diplomatic passports and those with diplomatic titles will be on the diplomatic list and be issued diplomatic identity cards by the Malagasy Government. This allows personnel unlimited duty-free entry privileges, but normally a family may import a maximum of two vehicles duty-free.

Passage Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:45 AM

A valid passport and entry visa are required for entry into Madagascar. Malagasy visas are issued by Malagasy diplomatic and consular posts and should be secured before arrival whenever possible. The Embassy can usually obtain airport visas for personnel who do not travel from or through Malagasy visa issuing centers if passport data is forwarded to the Embassy two weeks in advance of arrival. Personnel assigned to Post can obtain visas for themselves and their dependents for two months, which can be extended after arrival.

Pets Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:46 AM

Quarantine requirements differ according to the type of animal. A health certificate issued no more than three days prior to the date of arrival in Madagascar from a veterinarian in the country in which the animal was previously located must be provided. Dogs must have a valid rabies vaccination within the past six months. Importation of the following dogs is prohibited: Staffordshire and American Staffordshire (pit-bulls), Mastiff or boerbull, Tosa, and Rottweiler.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:46 AM

Host Country Requirements: The importation of firearms or ammunition is strictly controlled by the Malagasy Government. Only handguns of 7.65 caliber and under and shotguns are authorized. Authorization for possession of such firearms, as well as ammunition, must be sent via diplomatic note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which will transmit the request to the Service Provincial de la Defense for approval. Forms for the authorization request for the possession of firearms are available at the Service Provincial de la Defense. Upon arrival, firearms must be taken here for verification against the information on the forms.

Post Requirements: To bring firearms and ammunition into the country, you must seek advance permission from the Chief of Mission. Requests should be directed through the Regional Security Office prior to your scheduled arrival at post. The request should give the justification for why the employee wishes to have a firearm at post, as well as where/how the firearm will be stored/secured. List the make, model, serial number, and caliber of each firearm in your memo. Personnel should also certify that they are NOT prohibited by applicable U.S. law from possessing, shipping, or transporting firearms. The employee will be briefed by the RSO on safety guidelines for firearms and will be required to sign an "Employee Certification" form, which will be kept on file in the RSO's office.

Firearms and ammunition can only be shipped in your HHE. Firearms and ammunition cannot be shipped through the diplomatic pouch or carried in your baggage. For additional shipping information, refer to 6 FAM 168.5.

Permission to import firearms into Madagascar or acquire them in country does not in and of itself authorize U.S. Government employees or dependents to carry firearms outside their homes.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:47 AM

In late July 2003, the Malagasy Government instituted the replacement of the Malagasy franc (FMG) with the ariary, a traditional Malagasy currency, at the rate of one ariary to five FMG. Both currencies will be valid legal tender until November 2004. The rates of conversion (September 2003) are approximately 1,200 ariary to US$1 and 6,000 FMG to US$1.

Personal dollar checks may be cashed by the Embassy cashier for ariary. Opening a local bank account offers the convenience of writing ariary checks. The cashier can only cash checks for dollars for travelers leaving the country on official travel.

Madagascar uses the metric system of weights and measures.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 10/24/2003 1:47 AM

No unusual taxes or licensing requirements are levied in Madagascar. U.S. Government employees are not subject to any direct taxes. All personnel pay transaction taxes and indirect taxes, including Value-Added Tax, on purchases. Personnel may receive reimbursement of VAT on purchases from a limited number of stores.

American personnel may sell personal property, including cars, within the guidelines established by the Department of State and USAID regulations, if customs duties are paid by the seller.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 10/27/2003 0:45 AM

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.


Attenborough, David, Zoo Quest to Madagascar, Lutterworth Press, London, 1961.

Astuti, Rita, People of the Sea: Identity and Descent Among the Vezo of Madagascar, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2003.

Bloch, Maurice, Placing the Dead: Tombs, Ancestral Villages, and Kinship Organization in Madagascar, Seminar Press, New York, 1971.

Bourgeacq, Jacques, and Liliane Ramarosoa, Voices from Madagascar: An Anthology of Contemporary Francophone Literature, Ohio University Press, Athens, 2002.

Bradt, Hilary, Madagascar The Bradt Travel Guide - 7th ed., Globe Pequot Press, 2002.

Brown, Mervyn, A History of Madagascar, Marcus Wiener Publishers, Princeton, 2000.

Cole, Jennifer, Forget Colonialism? Sacrifice and the Art of Memory in Madagascar, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2001.

Dahl, Oyvind and Yvind Dahl, Meanings in Madagascar: Cases of Intercultural Communication, Bergin & Garvey, 1999.

Durrell, Gerald, The Aye-Aye and I: A Rescue Mission in Madagascar, Arcade, New York, 1993.

Ellis, Stephen, The Rising of the Red Shawls: A Revolt in Madagascar, 1895-1899, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1985.

Evers, Sandra, and Marc Spindler, ed. Cultures of Madagascar: Ebb and Flow of Influences, Leiden, Netherlands, 1995.

Fitzpatrick, Mary, and Paul Greenaway, Lonely Planet Madagascar - 4th ed., 2001.

Garbutt, Nick, Mammals of Madagascar, Pica Press, 1999.

Goodman, Steven M. and Bruce D. Patterson, ed. Natural Change and Human Impact in Madagascar, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington and London, 1997.

Goodman, Steven M. et al, ed. The Natural History of Madagascar, University of Chicago Press, (Jan. 2004).

Gow, Bonar, Madagascar and the Protestant Impact: The Work of the British Missions, 1818-1895, New York, 1979.

Jolly, Alison, A World Like Our Own: Man and Nature in Madagascar, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1980.

Kreamer, Christine Mulle, and Sarah Fee, Objects as Envoys: Cloth, Imagery, and Diplomacy in Madagascar, Smithsonian Institution, 2002.

Langrand, Olivier, Guide to the Birds of Madagascar, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1990.

Lanting. Frans, Madagascar: A World Out of Time, Aperture, New York, 1990.

Larson, Pier M., History and Memory in the Age of Enslavement: Becoming Merina in Highland Madagascar, 1770-1822, Heinemann, 2000.

Mack, John, Madagascar: Island of Ancestors, British Museum, London, 1986.

Mack, John, Malagasy Textiles, Shire Publications, 1989.

Mannoni, Octave, Prospero and Caliban: The Psychology of Colonization, Praeger, New York, 1956.

Mittermaier, Russell, et al. Lemurs of Madagascar, Conservation International, 1994.

Murphy, Dervla, Muddling Through in Madagascar, Overlook Press, 1985.

Tyson, Peter, The Eighth Continent: Life, Death and Discovery in the Lost World of Madagascar, Harper Collins, New York, 2000.


Acquier, Jean-Louis, Architecture de Madagascar, Arthaud, Paris, 1997.

La Cité des Mille: Antananarivo: Histoire, Architecture, Urbanisme, CITE/Tsipika, Antananarivo, 1998.

Cauvin, Patrick, Villa Vanille, Albin Michel, 1997.

De Flacourt, Etienne (annotated by Claude Alibert), Histoire de la Grande Ile Madagascar, Karthala, Paris, 1995.

Gallieni, Joseph, Neuf Ans à Madagascar, Hachette, Paris, 1908.

Guide Bleu Evasion, Madagascar, Hachette, Paris, 2001.

Guide Gallimard, Madagascar, 1999.

Randrianary, Victor, Madagascar: Les Chants d'une Ile, Cité de la Musique/Actes Sud, 2001.

Revel, Eric, Madagascar, L'Ile Rouge, Ballard, 1994.

Tronchon, Jacques, L'Insurrection Malgache de 1947, Karthala, Paris, 1987.

Verin, Pierre, Madagascar, Karthala, Paris, 1990.

Local Holidays Last Updated: 10/27/2003 1:03 AM

The Embassy observed the following Malagasy and U.S. holidays in 2003:

New Year's Day (A & M) January 1 Martin Luther King Day (A) January 20 Presidents' Day (A) February 17 Day Commemorating Martyrs (M) March 29 Easter Monday (M) April 21 Labor Day (M) May 1 Memorial Day (A) May 26 Ascension Thursday (M) May 29 Pentecost Monday (M) June 9 Madagascar Independence Day (M) June 26 U.S. Independence Day (A) July 4 Feast of the Assumption (M) August 15 Labor Day (A) September 1 Columbus Day (A) October 13 All Saints' Day (M) November 1 Veterans Day (A) Novebmer 11 Thanksgiving Day (A) November 27 Christmas Day (A & M) December 25

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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