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Madagascar is an island nation located in the Indian Ocean, off the southeastern coast of Africa. This island is the fourth largest in the world and the 46th largest country in the world. A chain of natural and man made lakes connected by canals, The Canal des Pangalanes runs parallel to the east coast for 300 miles. A central mountain ridge running from north to south, divides the island down the middle. Throughout the central ridge, there are three zones of higher mountain massifs. One of these being the highest mountain on the Island, Maromokotro, with an altitude of 9,436 feet. There are two seasons on the island, a hot rainy season from November to April, and a dry season from May to October.
Madagascar\'s government consists of a Presidency, a Parliament consisting of a National Assembly and a Senate, a Prime minister and council of minsters, and an independent judiciary. The President is elected for a five year term by direct universal suffrage. The National Assembly consists of 160 representatives elected every five years and the Senate with ninety senators elected for six year terms. The Prime minister is appointed by the President and carries out day to day management of the government. After the Prime minister is appointed, he appoints the rest of the executives and council members. Legislation is initiated by the prime minister and executed by the government. Madagascar is divided into six provinces and twenty-two regions.
Malagasy, a language of Malayo-Polynesian origin, is the national language of Madagascar, while official languages include: Malagasy, French and English. The English language is rare but government has begun to introduce the teaching of English in primary schools. Their hope in teaching English is to improve relations, in the future, with neighboring countries where English is used. Forty-five percent of Malagasy practice Christianity, divided between Catholics and Protestants. Many incorporate the cult of the dead tradition and bless their dead at church before continuing with the traditional burial rites. Some Protestant denominations feel these traditions are superstitious and do not allow them to occur.

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Quick Facts

Population: 22,585,517
Capital: Antananarivo
Per-capita GDP: $ 900
Size: 587,041 km2
Time Zone: (GMT + 03:00 hours) Baghdad

US State Department

Travel Warning: YES
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Country information is adapted from public domain resources including the CIA World Fact Book and www.Wikipedia.org.
Please report errors or concerns to questions@abroadoffice.net.

Xavier University of Louisiana Center for Intercultural and International Programs