Economic and Political Overview

flag Madagascar Madagascar: Economic and Political Overview

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline | COVID-19 Country Response


Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Despite being rich in natural resources, Madagascar is among the poorest countries in the world. Political instability, weak institutions and poor governance have been impediments to the country's economic growth. After the recession induced by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, economic growth rebounded to 4.3% in 2021 and 4.2% in 2022 (IMF). According to IMF forecast, GDP growth is projected to further accelerate to 5.2% in 2023 and 2024, driven by high prices for nickel, cobalt, cloves and vanilla, consumption and increased capital spending (Coface). Risk factors that can affect growth include social fragility, fiscal imbalances and vulnerability to external shocks.

After experiencing one of the worst recessions in its history due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Madagascar’s economy recovered slowly in 2021-22. The country’s fragility was aggravated by multiple climate shocks (several storms and a drought) as well as by the inflationary pressures linked to the war in Ukraine. The latter lead to an increase in the import bill, a delayed recovery of the tourism sector and a reduced demand for exports (Coface). Inflation soared from 5.8% in 2021 to 9.8% in 2022, and it is expected to remain high in 2023 (8%) and 2024 (7.5%) (IMF). The central bank raised its key rate several times, and the government decided to cap prices on certain essential goods (rice, sugar, flour) (Coface). Fiscal deficit deteriorated from -2.9% GDP in 2021 to -6.5% GDP in 2022, and it is expected to remain high despite decreasing to -4.8% GDP in 2023 and -4.7% GDP in 2024 (IMF). Public debt slightly increased from 53.1% GDP in 2021 to 53.8% GDP in 2022, and while remaining high, it is expected to stay stable at 53.1% GDP in 2023 and 53.6% GDP in 2024 (IMF). As it is almost exclusively concessional, it is considered sustainable. In March 2021, the IMF and Malagasy authorities agreed on a medium-term program of about USD 320 million under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF). This program aims at supporting recovery, preserving macroeconomic stability, rebuilding fiscal space and advancing reforms. The overall program performance is mixed, as reforms remain hampered by limited capacity and weak governance (IMF). The 2023 budget envisages gradual fiscal consolidation. The authorities are also committed to pursue the delayed Madagascar Emergence Plan 2019/2023, that aims to stimulate the country's economic growth through an increase in public and private investments, the strengthening of human capital and the improvement of governance. Among the country's persistent socio-economic challenges are poverty, corruption and the infrastructure deficit.

The ILO estimates the unemployment rate in Madagascar in 2021 at 2.3% of the total active population, but Madagascar’s living conditions remain among the lowest in the world. According to the World Bank, poverty concern more than 80% of the population, as the pandemic worsened the situation. The ongoing famine in the South of the country is a major concern. Malagasy people have a low life expectancy due to poor living conditions, particularly in matters of sanitation and hygiene. According to WaterAid Madagascar, around 70% of the population does not have access to adequate sanitation and around 90% of Malagasy people do not have access to improved toilets. As a result, there is a high risk of the spread of major infectious diseases among the population. More than half of the country's children suffer from a serious form of malnutrition. In addition, the country remains extremely vulnerable to climate shocks, such as hurricanes, floods, locust infestations and public health crises. The south of the country faces security concerns due to armed robbery of livestock.

Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 15.1515.7616.7718.3319.76
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 523530548583611
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP)
Inflation Rate (%) n/a10.
Current Account (billions USD) -0.82-0.62-0.80-0.88-0.96
Current Account (in % of GDP) -5.4-3.9-4.8-4.8-4.9

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

Madagascar is the leading exporter of vanilla in the world. Agriculture, including fishing and forestry, accounts for 24.7% of GDP and employs 64% of the population according to World Bank data (even though the majority of inhabitants practice subsistence farming). The main crop is rice, grown on almost half of the agricultural land. The main other agricultural products are: coffee, sugar cane, cloves, cocoa, cassava, beans, bananas, peanuts and livestock products. The agricultural sector is limited by low productivity due to the minimal use of modern agricultural techniques, the lack of infrastructure and a great vulnerability to climatic fluctuations, but benefits from numerous ongoing investments aimed at meeting these challenges. Deforestation and erosion, compounded by excessive use of firewood, are of serious concern.

The industrial sector contributes 19.5% of GDP and employs 9% of the active population (World Bank). It is dominated by mining (precious stones including rubies, sapphires, emeralds, etc.), textiles and agro-industry. Other business sectors include soap making, glassware, cement, automotive assembly, paper and petroleum.

The tertiary sector contributes to 50.4% of the GDP and employs 27% of the active population. Trade performed well before the global economic slowdown (with growth of around 5% per year), as well as tourism, which is one of the main assets of the country and whose potential is still untapped.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 73.9 10.4 15.7
Value Added (in % of GDP) 22.4 22.4 48.0
Value Added (Annual % Change) 0.9 7.4 -4.8

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


Find more information about your business sector on our service Market Reports.

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Malagasy Ariary (MGA) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 MUR 89.3790.3798.27101.9296.27

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


Find out all the exchange rates daily on our service Currency Converter.

Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


Return to top

Foreign Trade in Figures

Foreign trade accounts for 50% of Madagascar’s GDP (World Bank), a country that collects a large share of its revenues in the form of customs duties, import taxes and VAT on imports. Madagascar is the 135th exporting economy in the world and the 134th importer (WTO). The country is a member of the WTO and COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) and does not have significant non-tariff barriers. In addition, most products can be imported without an import license. The country mainly exports vanilla (22.2%), raw nickel (18.4%), clothing (9.1%), titanium ores (5%), cloves (4.2%), cobalt (3.9%), crustaceans (3.4%) and essential oils (2.8%). Its main imports are petroleum oils (13.6%), rice (6.2%), fabrics (2.7%), palm oil (2.6%), medicines (2.5%), and sugar (2%) (Comtrade, 2021).

Madagascar's main customers are France (19.2% of total exports), the United States, China, Japan, the Netherlands and Canada. Its main suppliers are China (19.4% of total imports), France, Oman, India, the United Arab Emirates, Mauritius and South Africa (Comtrade, 2021). Despite its abundant resources, Madagascar still struggles to channel its trade revenues into further development. Like other island states, Madagascar faces high transportation costs. The lack of well-developed infrastructure makes commercial transactions expensive, hindering private sector competitiveness. However, the country aims to improve logistics at the main ports and airports in order to improve trade. While the European Union is by far the largest client of Malagasy products, exports to member states of North American Free Trade Agreement have received a huge boost since 2017 following a decision by the United States to reinstate Madagascar in its trade preference programme (Africa Growth and Opportunity Act).

The country's trade balance has been traditionally negative and despite a steady increase in exports, this trend is unlikely to be reversed over the medium-term as imports continue to outpace exports. In 2021, merchandise exports amounted to USD 2.73 billion, while imports reached USD 4.41 billion. Exports of services amounted to USD 589 million, and imports reached USD 1.18 billion (WTO). In 2021, exports of goods and services increased by 11.6% compared to 2020, while imports increased by 7.3% (World Bank).

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 4,0613,9423,2214,4085,471
Exports of Goods (million USD) 3,1102,6962,0262,7263,609
Imports of Services (million USD) 1,3281,2288701,0910
Exports of Services (million USD) 1,3721,4696416330
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 11.14.6-16.612.719.8
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 2.410.9-36.655.027.5
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 36.334.228.931.740.1
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 31.528.420.122.831.1
Trade Balance (million USD) -458-844-900-969-970
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -414-603-1,129-1,407-1,352
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 67.862.649.054.571.2

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank , Latest Available Data


Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
United States 16.5%
France 15.7%
China 14.2%
Japan 12.0%
Netherlands 4.5%
See More Countries 37.1%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
China 21.5%
Oman 11.0%
India 10.0%
South Africa 4.9%
France 4.8%
See More Countries 47.7%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data


Main Products

3.5 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Unwrought nickelUnwrought nickel 24.7%
VanillaVanilla 15.1%
Cloves, whole fruit, cloves and stemsCloves, whole fruit, cloves and stems 7.8%
Cobalt mattes and other intermediate products of...Cobalt mattes and other intermediate products of cobalt metallurgy; cobalt and articles thereof, n.e.s.; cobalt waste and scrap (excl. ash and residues containing cobalt) 6.2%
Men's or boys' suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers,...Men's or boys' suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts (excl. knitted or crocheted, wind-jackets and similar articles, separate waistcoats, tracksuits, ski suits and swimwear) 3.9%
See More Products 42.3%
5.5 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 18.0%
RiceRice 5.9%
Palm oil and its fractions, whether or not refined...Palm oil and its fractions, whether or not refined (excl. chemically modified) 2.9%
Sulphur of all kinds (excl. sublimed sulphur,...Sulphur of all kinds (excl. sublimed sulphur, precipitated sulphur and colloidal sulphur) 2.8%
Fabrics, knitted or crocheted, of a width of > 30...Fabrics, knitted or crocheted, of a width of > 30 cm (excl. warp knit fabrics "incl. those made on galloon knitting machines", those containing by weight >= 5% of elastomeric yarn or rubber thread, and pile fabrics, incl. "long pile", looped pile fabrics, labels, badges and similar articles, and knitted or crocheted fabrics, impregnated, coated, covered or laminated) 2.7%
See More Products 67.8%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data


To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.


Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

Return to top

Sources of General Economic Information

Ministry of Economy and Finance
Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock
Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Ministry of Industrialisation, Commerce and Consumption
Ministry of Transport, Tourism and Meteorology
Ministry of Energy and Petroleum
Statistical Office
National Institute of Statistics
Central Bank
Central Bank of Madagascar
Stock Exchange
Mex Madagascar
Search Engines
Google Madagascar
YellowPages of Africa
Economic Portals
Midi Madagasikara
Madagascar Tribune
La Verité
Fortune of Africa Madagascar

Return to top

Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Andry RAJOELINA (since 21 January 2019)
Prime Minister: Christian NTSAY (since 6 June 2018 and re-appointed 19 July 2019)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: 2023
Senate: December 2025
National Assembly: May 2024
Main Political Parties
AREMA: leader Didier RATSIRAKA
IRD: Coalition of 10 parties lead by Andry RAJOELINA
Type of State
Democratic Republic.
Executive Power
The President of the Republic is elected by direct universal suffrage for a 5-year term, renewable twice. He appoints the Prime Minister. He can dissolve the National Assembly, which can for its part vote a motion of censure demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister and his government.
Legislative Power
Legislative power is shared between the government and the two chambers (Senate and National Assembly). The National Assembly is made up of 160 representatives elected by direct suffrage every five years. The Senate is made up of 90 senators, two thirds of whom are elected by local legislators. The other third are appointed by the President, all for a six-year term.

Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:

Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Partly Free
Political Freedom:

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House


Return to top

COVID-19 Country Response

Travel restrictions
Regularly updated travel information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related entry regulations, flight bans, test and vaccines requirements is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
To find information about the current travel regulations, including health requirements, it is also advised to consult Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on a daily basis by IATA.
Import & export restrictions
A general overview of trade restrictions which were adopted by different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) undertaken by the government of Madagascar, please consult the country's dedicated section in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For an evaluation of impact of the Covid pandemic on SMEs and an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience, refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document.
You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.


Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.


© eexpand, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: January 2024