Madagascar - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel
Last published date:

Following the end of the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, many direct flights to Antananarivo including from Johannesburg, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Paris, Rome, Istanbul, St. Denis, and Port Louis have resumed. The government is keen to increase connectivity to other regions including the United States, the Middle East, China, and India to boost tourism and foreign currencies earnings. Madagascar has ratified and signed the universal Open Skies agreement. In a bid to attract major airlines and international tourists, Madagascar has opened a new international terminal at Ivato International Airport and increased the number of upscale tourist accommodations. The government also worked for the acquisition of new aircrafts to increase its national airline’s regional and long-haul flights.

Business Customs: 

Business customs are similar those in Europe. Meetings may be conducted over coffee or more formal meals; cocktail receptions are popular events for networking. For men, normal business wear is suit and tie. Women also wear suits for business meetings. Warmer clothes are required during the cooler months, especially in the central regions. Humidity can be high in summer, especially in the east. 

Travel Advisory: 

The State Department consular information sheet can be found at

Visa requirements: 

The Economic Development Board of Madagascar (EDBM) processes work permits for expatriate workers. Investor visas, 72-hour entry visas or boarding authorization for the purpose of obtaining convertible visas, must be obtained at the Madagascar Embassy. Details of required documents can be found at

Foreigners, including U.S. citizens, may be eligible for a resident permit after five years of residence. Investors may apply for residency without prior residency. Foreign businesspersons seeking a visa to travel to the United States are advised to visit

U.S. companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following link(s): State Department Visa Website.


The local currency symbol is MGA for the Malagasy Ariary. As of July 2023, one U.S. dollar could be exchanged for approximately 4,500 MGA. Euro, USD, and Pounds Sterling are other currencies commonly accepted in Madagascar. Supermarkets, hotels, and gas stations generally accept credit cards. Public use ATMs connected to U.S. ATM networks are readily accessible in major towns. Commercial banks accept traveler’s checks.


Madagascar has reliable international mail, telephone, fax, email, and internet services compared to the rest of the region. The power supply is 220V and the common plug type is AFNOR in most hotels and restaurants. The population has limited access to electricity - 15 percent in urban areas and only 6 percent in rural zones.  Internet is available in hotels and at cyber cafés in major towns. There are four major cellular phone companies: Airtel, Orange, Telma, and Blueline. All of them use the GSM system. Two telecommunication companies – Telma and Blueline – have licenses to operate fiber optic networks. Madagascar has good internet speed compared to its regional peers, which compares favorably with developed countries. In recent years, call centers and BPO services have boomed in Madagascar, due in large part to access to quality internet services and low-cost labor.


Air transportation is the best way to get around Madagascar, as travel by road is both long and difficult. Madagascar Airlines/Tsaradia flights connect the larger regional towns to Antananarivo. Maritime transport is mainly used for transportation of goods around the island to connect to the other seaports and neighboring Indian Ocean Islands (Mauritius, Comoros, Reunion Island, Seychelles). Visitors to the capital city of Antananarivo and other major towns can hire taxi cabs relatively cheaply; however, it is worth working through reputable vendors to ensure vehicles meet minimum safety standards.


Malagasy is the official language, with French used as the administrative and business language. English is rarely spoken; one should not expect ordinary citizens or officials outside the capital or major towns to speak even minimal English.


For specific information for travelers to Madagascar, please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Visitors are strongly urged to purchase medevac insurance prior to arrival. Local hospitals are poorly equipped and do not meet U.S. standards, especially for emergency care, and evacuation to nearby locations (Mauritius, Reunion, South Africa) is encouraged for serious illness.

Local time, business hours, and holidays: The Malagasy Time Zone is Greenwich plus three. Madagascar does not use Daylight Savings Time. The typical hours of business are from 08:30 – 17:00, with a lunch break between 1200 – 1300. Government offices open 09:00 – 16:00, Monday through Friday. Businesses open 08:00-17:00; Monday through Friday/Saturday. Banks open 09:00 – 16:00; Monday through Friday; some banks are open half day on Saturday. In 2023, Madagascar has 12 public holidays:

 DayDate Holiday name Type Comments 
SundayJanuary 1 New Year’s Day National holiday  
WednesdayMarch 8 Women’s DayNational holiday  
WednesdayMarch 29Martyrs’ DayNational holiday  
SundayApril 9 Easter SundayNational holiday  
MondayApril 10Easter MondayNational holiday  
FridayApril 21Eid al-Fitr National holiday Subject to change depending on lunar calendar
MondayMay 1Labor DayNational holiday  
ThursdayMay 18Ascension DayNational holiday  
SundayMay 28Whit SundayNational holiday  
MondayMay 29Whit MondayNational holiday  
MondayJune 26Independence DayNational holiday  
TuesdayAugust 15Assumption DayNational holiday  
WednesdayNovember 1All Saints’ DayNational holiday 
MondayDecember 25Christmas DayNational holiday 

Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings: 

No duty is levied on apparel and personal effects of a passenger arriving in Madagascar. Articles that are more than the concessions and allowances listed below are liable for duty. A passenger 18 years old or over may bring the following goods, free of customs duties:

  • 1 portable musical instrument 
  • 1 portable medical apparatus and wheelchair 
  • 1 portable dialysis machine and consumables 
  • 2 bottes of parfume and 2 bottles of eaux de toilette (per passenger) 
  • Tobacco - 200 units of cigarettes or 100 units of cigarillos, 50 units of cigars or 250 grams of smoking tobacco 
  • Alcoholic drinks: 2 liters per passport for each passenger 18 years old or older
  • 250 grams of punched jewelry; 250 grams of costume jewelry 
  • 400,000Ar of banknotes denominated in local currency 
  • Electronic devices: 1 laptop, 1 phone and 1 tablet 
  • Clothing and shoes: 6 pairs of closed shoes 
  • 1 handheld camera, 1 handheld radio, and 1 other camera not for professional use