Living in Madagascar
Madagascar also known as the Red Island, among other names is the world’s 4th largest island. It is situated in the Indian Ocean, about 450 km (280 mi) east of the coast of Mozambique. For people fond of nature it is an ideal destination. There is great natural diversity with plenty of flora and fauna. The landscapes are beautiful. The ethnic diversity of the country is reflected in it’s vibrant culture. For expats wishing to live and work in Madagascar mastering French is a must.
Between 350 BC and 550 AD, the first people arrived in Madagascar from Borneo on outrigger canoes. Around 1000 AD, these first settlers were joined by Bantu migrants crossing the Mozambique Channel. Arabs, Indians, and Chinese and other groups continued to settle on Madagascar over time, each one making lasting contributions to Malagasy cultural life. The Malagasy people’s way of thinking includes a mixture of cultures, as well as their appearance and fashion style. Madagascar is included in the African Union. However it’s place is now being reconsidered due to the recent 2009 political turmoil regarding the African Union members.
Politics in Madagascar
Madagascar has experienced repeated political instability since gaining independence from France in 1960. This includes coups, violent unrest and disputed elections at best. After the most recent coup in 2009 there was a period of five years of political deadlock, international condemnation and economic sanctions. The political situation remains fragile despite the return of democratic elections in 2013. Following years of political instability in Madagascar, Hery Rajaonarimampianina's election as president in 2013 brought fresh hope. However, the country's National Assembly voted to impeach him for failing to deliver on his election pledges just 18 months into his presidency. Although the vote failed, both Mr Rajaonarimampianina's supporters and opponents continue to remain at loggerheads.
Economy of Madagascar
Among the world's poorest countries is Madagascar. Agriculture, mining, fishing, and clothes production provides the basis of the country's economy. Vanilla is one of Madagascar's best known products which comes from an orchid and is used for flavoring. The average Malagasy makes around $1 US per day despite relatively high vanilla prices, while 70% of the Malagasy live below the world poverty line.
Why is Madagascar so poor? There are a number of reasons. In the past the government was corrupt and stole much of the aid money given by other countries. There is a lack of infrastructure, especially roads, which makes it hard for farmers to get their products to markets. The cost of trade is increased by Madagascar's geographic isolation from the rest of the world. Everything that Madagascar trades with other countries has to be shipped by boat or airplane. Because the education system is weak young Malagasy find it hard to get jobs outside the agricultural sector. Also few people have access to technology or the Internet. Finally, the ability of Madagascar's farmers to produce large amounts of food is reduced due to damage to the environment.
All is not lost, however. Madagascar announced it had found large amounts of oil in 2005. Probably oil along with mining, gemstone production (Madagascar has lots of sapphires), and tourism will be a key part of Madagascar's economic future
Buying or Renting Property in Madagascar
Legislation that allowed foreigners to own land was passed in 2004. For foreigners to own land, they must invest up to US$500,000 in real estate, banking, and tourism sectors. To assist foreign investors in those sectors, a one-stop office was created. Leasing land is another option which is allowed for up to 99 years. Foreigners still find it hard to invest in the country despite these quite liberal policies because of bureaucratic obstacles.
Pure Malagasy and foreigners may have the same choices. There is the long lease at first. This is very long term rental lasting between 18 to 99 year old, even more. It almost seems like a purchase. However when it comes to the end of the contract, all rights are returned to the former owner. For the duration of the contract, the purchaser had the right to sublet, build, and otherwise exploit the property.
Visa and Immigration
Writer Relocations provides visa and immigration services for Madagascar and many other countries across the globe. You can get in touch with our executives for further assistance.
Schools in Madagascar
For children between the ages of 6 and 14, school is compulsory. Primary schools are where the first six years of this are spent. These schools may be in ramshackle condition in rural areas. All children are prescribed a standard academic curriculum.
The next 3 years are spent at junior secondary level. A completion certificate is awarded at the end of these 3 years. This will be the end of school for many poorer children who managed to make it thus far.
The final 3 years of Madagascan school are mainly the preserve of richer urban kids and are no longer compulsory. Those who complete the course receive a baccalauréat - the equivalent of a high school diploma. The baccalauréat is essential for entry into university.
Established in 1961 the University in Antananarivo is the original core institution. It gave rise to the island nation’s other premier tertiary institutions.
Weather in Madagascar
A truly diverse climate is what Madagascar offers. A huge range of climate variations is to be found here at over half a million square miles and benefits from a considerable mountain range. With temperatures regularly reaching 30’C or more the east of the island is the warmest. Brought in by the Indian Ocean trade winds, this area also experiences far more rain.
It’s cooler and drier in the west of the island making for more comfortable living conditions. You will find frosts at altitude so it really is possible to travel from “chilly” to “tropical” in a single day. Madagascar not only becomes more interesting as a travel destination due to this diversity of climate but it also has a part to play in the vast wealth of plant and animal species to be found.
Madagascar typically experiences an annual cycle of hot and dry weather (November to April), followed by a cooler wet season (May to October), like many other equatorial areas.
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