My report is on Madagascar. Madagascar is an island of the continent of Africa. It is the fourth largest island in the world. It is in the
Indian Ocean. Madagascar is formed by one large island and several small islands. The country’s total area is 226,658 square miles. It is about the size of Texas. The central part of this large island is made of a mountainous plateau. This separates the sides of the island. Madagascar is partly volcanic in origin. The sides of the mountain rise about 2,876 feet to the top. Maromokotro is located near the north of the island. The massive Ankaratra Mountains, near the capital city of Antananarivo, rise to the height of 2,643 miles. The land slopes steeply to a small or narrow lowland bordering the Indian Ocean in the east. There is a somewhat wider coastal plain next to the Mozambique Channel in the west. The best soil in the country is found along the coast, and in river valley’s of the central plateau. The major rivers of Madagascar are Betsiboka, Mangoky and
Onilahy. All rivers start on the east side of the country, and flow west towards the Mozambique Channel. The largest lake is near Toamasina. It is called Alaotra.
The eastern part of Madagascar gets a lot of rain, which is brought on shore by winds coming from the southeasterly direction. Annual precipitation in some areas on the eastern coast is about 120 inches. The central plateau doesn’t get as much rain. Areas in the south and southwest get about 15 inches of rain. Most of the rain falls between November and
April. Coastal regions remain at a warm or hot temperature throughout the year. The central plateau has a climate of warm summers and cool winters.
Tropical rain forests are also in Madagascar. The Savanna woodlands and grasslands grow in the drier western regions. Desert vegetation occurs in the extreme southwest. Animal life is uncommon in Madagascar. Lemur, is an animal that is found almost always in Madagascar. All the animals that are in Madagascar share characteristics with animals in Africa. The differences indicate they evolved on Madagascar during a long period of isolation.
They have minerals in Madagascar like the ones we have in United
States of America. They have coal and nickel. Other important mineral resources include bauxite, chromium, graphite, iron ore, petroleum and copper deposits, as well as small amounts of salt, garnets, and mica.
Madagascar has an ethnically diverse population of 13,005,989. The number of people living there is growing at a comparatively high annual rate of 3.2 percent. Some major ethnic groups are the Merina, who makes up
27 percent of the total population, and the Betsilo [12 percent] who are related to the Merina. Both groups descended mostly from Malaya and
Indonesia about 2,000 years ago. The coastal areas are in habited mainly by a group of mixed people. The ancestries among these people are Malayo-
Indonesian, black African, and Arab. The ethnic groups are Tsimihety [7 percent ], Sakalave [6 percent ], and Antaiska [5 percent ] . Only 22 percent of the total population is classified as urban. Antananarivo the capital, is the largest city with a population of 703,000. Other important cities are Toamasina [139,000], Fianarantsoa [111,000], Mahajanga
[111,000], Toliara [59,000], and Antsiranana [53,000].
The two official languages of Madagascar are the Merina dialect of
Malagasy, a language of Malayo-Indonesian origin, and the other is French.
Approximately 41 percent of the religion in Madagascar is Christian.
Fifty-two percent follows traditional beliefs and 7 percent is Muslim.
In 1976 the government passed legislation making six years of school mandatory. By the middle of the 1980s the literacy rate was up 67 percent.
Virtually all children in the age group of six to eleven attended elementary school, and 21 percent of those between the ages of twelve and seventeen were enrolled in secondary school. The country’s main source of higher education is at the University of Antananarivo. Most of higher education centers are located in Antananarivo.
Madagascar’s radio and television broadcasting is provided by Radio-
Television Malgasy and Radio Madagasikara. Both stations are state owned.
Not everybody has a radio or television, so the government owns a newspaper, Madagascar-Tribune. There is one other newspaper it is the
Imongo Vaovao. Both of the newspapers are made in Antananarivo.
In 1975, Madagascar’s government said, under the constitution, that the country was ruled by a president who was elected for seven years.