Madagascar flag Madagascar: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Madagascar

Foreign Trade in Figures

Foreign trade accounts for 49% of Madagascar’s GDP (World Bank), a country that collects a large share of its revenues in the form of customs duties, import taxes and VAT on imports. Madagascar is the 139th exporting economy in the world and the 137th importer. The country is a member of the WTO and COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) and does not have significant non-tariff barriers. In addition, most products can be imported without an import license. The country mainly exports vanilla (26.1%), clothing (11.4%), raw nickel (7.3%), crustaceans (5%), titanium ores (4.9%), essential oils (3.6%), gold (3.5%) and cloves (3.35). Its main imports are petroleum oils (11.4%), rice (5.6%), medicines (3.2%), palm oil (3%), fabrics (2.3%) and motor vehicles (1.9%).

Madagascar's main customers are France (23.1% of total exports), the United States, Germany, China and the Netherlands. Its main suppliers are China (25.4% of total imports), India, France, the United Arab Emirates, and South Africa. Despite its abundant resources, Madagascar still struggles to channel its trade revenues into further development. Like other island states, Madagascar faces high transportation costs. The lack of well-developed infrastructure makes commercial transactions expensive, hindering private sector competitiveness. However, the country aims to improve logistics at the main ports and airports in order to improve trade.  While the European Union is by far the largest client of Malagasy products, exports to member states of North American Free Trade Agreement have received a huge boost since 2017 following a decision by the United States to reinstate Madagascar in its trade preference programme (Africa Growth and Opportunity Act).

The country's trade balance has been traditionally negative and despite a steady increase in exports, this trend is unlikely to be reversed over the medium-term as imports continue to outpace exports. In 2020, merchandise exports amounted to USD 1.99 billion, while imports reached USD 3.22 billion. Exports of services amounted to USD 626 million, and imports reached USD 650 billion (WTO). In 2020, exports of goods and services decreased by -11.7% compared to 2019 while imports increased by 6.6%. Exports of mining products, vanilla and textiles were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 2,8143,6704,0613,9423,224
Exports of Goods (million USD) 2,0632,8483,1102,6961,987
Imports of Services (million USD) 1,0221,0891,1231,022650
Exports of Services (million USD) 9841,2441,3411,449626

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 60.865.363.659.653.6
Trade Balance (million USD) -266-450-458-844n/a
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -175-344-414-605n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 4.823.7-4.15.36.6
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -1.045.44.64.2-11.7
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 31.734.434.433.130.4
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 29.130.929.226.523.3

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 1.613.312.314.08.3
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 1.812.16.811.58.0

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Madagascar is a member of the WTO, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the South African Development Community (SADC)
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2020
France 23.1%
United States 22.5%
Germany 8.3%
China 6.0%
Netherlands 4.4%
See More Countries 35.7%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2020
China 25.4%
India 8.6%
France 7.2%
United Arab Emirates 6.6%
South Africa 4.2%
See More Countries 48.1%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

2.0 bn USD of products exported in 2020
VanillaVanilla 26.1%
Unwrought nickelUnwrought nickel 7.3%
Jerseys, pullovers, cardigans, waistcoats and...Jerseys, pullovers, cardigans, waistcoats and similar articles, knitted or crocheted (excl. wadded waistcoats) 5.2%
Crustaceans, fit for human consumption, whether in...Crustaceans, fit for human consumption, whether in shell or not, live, fresh, chilled, frozen, dried, salted or in brine, incl. crustaceans in shell cooked beforehand by steaming or by boiling in water; flours, meals and pellets of crustaceans, fit for human consumption 5.0%
Titanium ores and concentratesTitanium ores and concentrates 4.9%
See More Products 51.5%
3.2 bn USD of products imported in 2020
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 11.4%
RiceRice 5.6%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 3.2%
Palm oil and its fractions, whether or not refined...Palm oil and its fractions, whether or not refined (excl. chemically modified) 3.0%
Fabrics, knitted or crocheted, of a width of > 30...Fabrics, knitted or crocheted, of a width of > 30 cm (excl. warp knit fabrics incl. those made on galloon knitting machines, those containing by weight >= 5% of elastomeric yarn or rubber thread, and pile fabrics, incl. long pile, looped pile fabrics, labels, badges and similar articles, and knitted or crocheted fabrics, impregnated, coated, covered or laminated) 2.3%
See More Products 74.5%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

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Latest Update: April 2022