(WIPO code: MG) (latest review April 2023)

by KISCH IP, Sandton, South Africa

General Information


587,041 sq. km.


28,812,195 (2023).




French (official), Malagasy.


Ariary (MGA).


Textiles, machinery, metal, food, vehicles.


Coffee, spices, fresh fish, cotton fabrics, mineral products, fruits, vegetables.

General Remarks

Madagascar is one of the world’s largest islands, and is separated from the African continent by the Mozambique Channel.

A French colony from 1897, Madagascar became independent in 1960, but the French were still entitled to establish bases and troops on the island during the 1st Republic under President Tsiranana. Following several internal coups, the 2nd Republic was proclaimed in 1975 with Didier Ratsiraka as President.

The presidential election in 1993 resulted in the election of Albert Zafy as President and the proclamation of the 3rd Republic. Zafy was impeached in 1996 and shortly after Ratsiraka returned to power from 1996 to 2001. A disputed presidential election in December 2001 ended eventually in clear victory for President Marc Ravalomanana.

In March 2009, mid-way through his second mandate, President Ravalomanana was forced out of office by a putsch led by 34-year old Andry Rajoelina, Mayor of the capital, Antananarivo at the time, and supported by a small number of armed members of the military.

Following a referendum held in mid-2010, a new constitution was adopted and the 4th Republic was proclaimed on December 11, 2010. Efforts by the international community to settle the political crisis resulted in the signing of a road-map document by representatives of numerous political parties early in 2011. This document provided for the formation of a consensual government to include members of the four main political movements. The new government is now in place and comprises 35 members. The elected parliament, dissolved by the Transitional Authorities in March 2009 has been replaced by “The Congress of the Transition” comprising of 363 nominated representatives of the numerous political parties. Various parliamentary and municipal elections took place in 2013.

The political and economic chaos that followed the 2009 coup resulted in thousands of job losses. As a reaction to the putsch, foreign aid was frozen with the exception of aid destined for humanitarian causes. This climate of uncertainty has meant that no new important investment has taken place. However, in 2010 the Chinese mining group WISCO were granted an exploration permit for iron ore, for which an investment figure of U.S.$ 8 billion was announced and the two major mining projects: Rio Tinto, Ilmenite Project and Ambatovy Nickel Project are now both in production. Oil exploration has also continued on a reduced scale.