Madagascar Information

1) Doing Business in Madagascar

 An island nation in the Western Indian Ocean with a population of around 22 million, Madagascar ranks among the poorest countries in the world. Almost 80 per cent of the population lives in poverty. In 2006, with the support of the World Bank, the IMF, and other donors, the Government of Madagascar (GOM) was seeking to move towards a market economy conducive to private sector development, openness to foreign investment, and withdrawal of the GOM from productive sectors.

However, in March 2009, the elected President Marc Ravalomanana was ousted by the former mayor of Antananarivo Andry Rajoelina following a coup supported by the army.  The international community does not acknowledge as legitimate the de facto transition regime that has been in power since that time.  As a result, most donors suspended their non-humanitarian aid programs, and the USG prematurely terminated the Millennium Challenge (MCA) program in Madagascar on May 19, 2009.  On December 24, 2009, the country’s eligibility under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was also suspended as Madagascar no longer met the criteria regarding political pluralism and rule of law.

Following the political crisis, economic activities declined, unemployment increased, and government revenue dropped, inducing a sharp fall in public investment.  The annual growth rate shrank from 7.1 percent in 2008 to 2 per cent in 2013.

As a former French colony, Madagascar sells more of its exports to France than any other country (38 per cent in 2012).  In addition, 650 out of 2,500 companies in Madagascar have French capital.  However, France was only the fifth largest foreign investor in Madagascar in 2012, having been removed from its prior first place position by large Canadian, Japanese, Korean, and British-Australian mining investments.  China was the leading supplier of Malagasy imports in 2012, with at least 22 per cent market share, made up mainly of electric appliances, hardware and construction materials.

2) Market Research

To view market research reports produced by the U.S. Commercial Service please go to the following website,, and click on Country and Industry Market Reports.

Please note that these reports are only available to U.S. citizens and U.S.companies. Registration to the site is required, but free of charge. 

3) Trade Events

Please click on the link below for information on upcoming trade events.

4) Trade Leads

 Outside the EPZ (Export Processing Zones) companies, whose focus is primarily on apparel production and data processing, the most promising sectors are energy, mining, and tourism. The best prospects for future U.S.sales and investments are in energy, oil exploration, telecommunications, and mining sectors.

Tourism, especially eco-tourism, has significant potential as well. There are under-exploited opportunities in consulting and engineering. Thanks to donors’ assistance, including MCA’s, some investors are now developing projects to encourage value-added processing of agricultural exports such as essential oils. The country has commercially significant reserves of several minerals including chromites, graphite, nickel, cobalt, mica, uranium and ilmenite. Gold and significant quantities of various precious and semi-precious stones – ruby, sapphire, and emerald – are also found in Madagascar.

The discovery of important deposits of sapphires and rubies in some parts of the country has attracted many foreign traders and investors from Thailand, Sri Lanka, Europe, and the U.S.

Despite the political crisis, the Rio Tinto company began exporting ilmenite in June 2009, and Ambatovy, a joint venture of Sherritt, SNC Lavalin, Kores, and Sumitomo, began exporting nickel and cobalt in 2012.

6) Trade Promotion Service Offered by the Political, Economic and Commercial Section of the Embassy

Gold Key Appointment Service

The Gold Key appointment service provides visiting American firms with pre-qualified and pre-screened meetings with potential overseas agents, distributors, sales representatives and strategic business partners.

The program features appointments with Madagascar firms, background and contact information on each potential partner, product or service lines, after-sales service capability, market research and a market briefing and debriefing with U.S. Embassy Economic Section staff.

International Partner Search, the next best thing to traveling to Madagascar

The “International Partner Search” helps you find potential agents, distributors or other partners without leaving the U.S. We will contact potential Madagascar business partners using the marketing materials you provide, and identify the companies that are interested and capable of becoming a viable representative for you in Madagascar. Our report on these companies includes: contact information and profiles, local market product evaluation, competition from local or third-country firms and more.

International Company Profile

The International Company Profile (ICP) helps U.S. companies evaluate potential business partners in Madagascar by providing a detailed report on those companies which have been personally visited by an Economic Officer of the U.S. Embassy in Madagascar.

Clients can request answers to detailed questions about Madagascar companies on a variety of issues and receive expert advice from our Economic Specialists about the relative strength of the firm in its market and its reliability.

Single Company Promotion

The U.S. Embassy in Madagascar provides a full range of services to U.S. companies or their local subsidiaries wishing to promote a product or service.