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Best Bitcoin Card for Madagascar

With an area of 587 041 km², Madagascar (after Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo) is the fourth largest island in the world. It lies about 400 km off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean. The island was formed at least 50 million years ago when it detached itself from the primordial continent of Gondwanaland.

The island has different landscapes: Three quarters of the island’s surface is covered by a highland between 800 and 1 600 metres above sea level. The highlands are furrowed by the course of numerous rivers and have a number of mountain ranges. To the east, in a north-south direction, there is a massif that rises to 2 876 metres (Tsaratanana in the north of the island), and in the central part of the plateau, to 2 642 metres (Ankaratra). Highest mountain of the island is the Maromokotro with 2 886 m. The highlands drop steeply to the almost straight east coast, to the bay-rich west coast over pronounced strata and terraces. Numerous coral reefs lie in front of the fragmented west coast. The east coast is characterized by numerous lagoons with white sandy beaches. The larger rivers of the island, Betsiboka, Mangoky and Tsiribihina, rise in the eastern part of the highlands and flow into the sea on the west coast. The capital Antananarivo (French: Tananarive) has about 1.4 million inhabitants.

Population

99% of the approximately 18 million inhabitants of the island are Madagascans, most of whom are of Malay-Indonesian origin. Small groups of Chinese, Indians and French form minorities. In total, the island is inhabited by 18 ethnic groups; traditionally, there are strong contrasts between the highland tribes, who formed the ruling class of the country, and the coastal tribes. The largest ethnic group in terms of numbers is the Merina with around 27%, which, like the Betsileo (approx. 12%), belong to the highland tribes. Further groups are the Betsimisaraka (15%), the Sakalaven (6%), Antandroy (5%) and Tsimihety (7%).

The official languages in Madagascar are French, Malagasy (Madagascan) and, since 2006, English. More than half of the population are followers of natural religions, around 40% belong to Christian religions. Muslims form a minority.

About 45 % of the total population is younger than 15 years, the population density is about 31 inhabitants per square kilometre. The population is growing rapidly (3.02%), despite the high infant mortality rate of over 7%. Average life expectancy is 56 years. Children between the ages of six and 14 are required to attend school, but the literacy rate is only about 69%.

Political system

According to the 2010 Constitution, Madagascar is a presidential republic. The head of state is the president (since January 2014 Hery Rajaonarimampianina), who is directly elected by the people for five years. The head of government is the Prime Minister (since April 2014 Roger Kolo). The President of the Republic appoints the Prime Minister on the recommendation of Parliament. The legislative power lies with the two-chamber parliament, which consists of the National Assembly and the Senate. The 127 members of the National Assembly are directly elected by the people for four years. The Senate has 90 members, two thirds of whom are elected by the regional assemblies and one third by the President. The Senate’s term of office is six years. Madagascar is divided into 22 regions.

Economy

Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world. Large parts of the population are threatened by chronic malnutrition and disease. More than three quarters of the population live on less than one US dollar a day.

The most important economic sector is agriculture, which generates about 30 % of the gross domestic product (GDP). More than 70% of export revenues come from this sector. Bananas, rice, potatoes, cassava, corn and taro are grown for the country’s own needs. Coffee, cocoa, cloves, sugar cane and tobacco are exported. Another important export article is vanilla.

For many tribes livestock farming is the basis of life. The remaining forest stands are mainly used for the production of firewood, only small quantities of tropical wood are exported. Soil erosion is a growing problem.

The only moderately developed industry (17% of GDP) is dominated by food processing companies. Glass, tobacco and textiles are also produced. Madagascar’s mineral resources include various ores, quartzes, gold, bauxite, chromium and nickel, which have so far been mined only to a limited extent. The oil deposits are also only partially mined. More than 50% of the country’s energy requirements are covered by hydropower.

Madagascar exports mainly to the USA and France and imports the necessary food, consumer goods and crude oil from France, China and Hong Kong. At the end of 2004, the Ariary replaced the Mad