U.S. Relations With Madagascar

Bureau of African Affairs
Fact Sheet
December 8, 2015

More information about Madagascar is available on the Madagascar Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.


During the 1800s and 1900s, Madagascar passed back and forth between British and French spheres of influence and possession. The country became independent from France in 1960. Relations between the United States and Madagascar date to the mid-1800s. The two countries concluded a commercial convention in 1867; established diplomatic relations in 1874; and concluded a treaty of peace, friendship, and commerce in 1881. Traditionally warm relations suffered considerably during the 1970s, when Madagascar expelled the U.S. Ambassador, closed a NASA tracking station, and nationalized two U.S. oil companies. In 1980, relations at the ambassadorial level were restored.

In 2009, Madagascar's democratically elected president stepped down under pressure from the military and purported to transfer his authority to a senior military figure, who in turn purported to confer the presidency on the opposition leader, heading the self-proclaimed High Transitional Authority (HAT). The United States considers the series of events in Madagascar in early 2009 to be a military coup d'état. In the aftermath of the coup d’etat, Madagascar has experienced negative economic growth and diminished government revenues, undermining the political, social, and economic stability of the country. The United States supported international efforts led by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) to ensure that the electoral process, which began with presidential elections in late 2013, was credible and led to a restoration of democratic rule. Hery Rajoanarimampianina was democratically elected in December 2013 and took office in January 2014.

U.S. Assistance to Madagascar

All sanctions have been lifted following the democratic election of President Rajaonarimampianina. After the 2009 coup d’etat, the United States had suspended direct assistance to or through Madagascar’s governmental authorities as well as all non-humanitarian activities. However, the U.S. Government continued to provide assistance in health and food security through nongovernmental organizations, community associations, and other private groups. The United States is one of the largest bilateral donors to Madagascar, which is a priority country for the President’s Malaria Initiative. Additionally, 138 Peace Corps Volunteers serve in Madagascar.

Bilateral Economic Relations

U.S. exports to Madagascar include machinery, vegetable oil, rice and wheat, aircraft, and vehicles. U.S. imports from Madagascar include apparel, vanilla beans, precious stones/metals, and perfumes/cosmetics. The United States has signed a trade and investment framework agreement with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, of which Madagascar is a member. Madagascar’s eligibility for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act was reinstated in January 2015. (After the 2009 coup, because the de facto regime failed to meet the necessary economic and political governance criteria, Madagascar had lost its eligibility.)

Madagascar's Membership in International Organizations

Madagascar and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.

Bilateral Representation

The current U.S. Ambassador to Madagascar is Robert T. Yamate. Other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

Madagascar maintains an embassy in the United States at 2374 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-265-5525).

More information about Madagascar is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State Madagascar Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Madagascar Page
U.S. Embassy: Madagascar
USAID Madagascar Page
History of U.S. Relations With Madagascar
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Millennium Challenge Corporation
Library of Congress Country Studies
Travel and Business Information