- The first settlers were of African and Asian origin, and 18 separate ethnic groups emerged, derived from an African and Malayo-Indonesian mixture
- 90% of the animal and plant life found in Madagascar cannot be found anywhere else in the world, including more than 70 species of Lemurs
- Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world.
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- Finding quality housing can be a challenge.
- There are a very limited number of international schools.
- Madagascar’s official languages are Malagasy and French – little English is spoken in the location.
An Overview of Madagascar
Madagascar’s political crisis in 2009 – following a coup de tat – coincided with the global financial crisis. The country’s economy was severely impacted by this ‘double crisis’. However, following elections and a relative return to political stability the country’s economy is expected to grow steadily. Madagascar’s economy has traditionally been driven by the textile and gem stone industries. There are however, a number of large scale mining operations under development in the country – these are expected to contribute to the country’s growth.
Madagascar is located in the Indian Ocean. The country comprises of 6 provinces with its capital, Antananarivo, being a province in itself. Antananarivo is home to approximately 1.99 million people.
Living in Antananarivo
Antananarivo’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair as a result of years of instability. Because the bulk of the Malagasy government’s budget comes from foreign aid, any political instability results in foreign donors freezing their aid to the government – the country has therefore been at a fiscal and developmental standstill since the last political crisis. Partly because of the state of infrastructure, driving in Antananarivo can be a bit chaotic. Visitors are advised to have their own cars and make use of a driver until they acclimatise to the city’s traffic. In terms of goods and services, Antananarivo is largely cash-based, with point of sales terminals typically only being available at larger hotels and restaurants. Despite the challenges of the location, Antananarivo’s expatriate community is a close knit and active community.
Housing in Antananarivo
Antananarivo is roughly split into the ‘Old Town’ and the ‘New Town’. The former is situated, geographically, on the higher parts of the city while the latter is situated on the lower parts of the city.2-3 bedroom Apartments and 3-5 bedroom houses are available in Antananarivo. Expatriates in Antananarivo tend to live in secure compounds.
Schooling in Antananarivo
International schooling options are limited to two schools – an American International School, and a French International School.