Madagascar - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel
Last published date: 2021-10-17

Prior to the pandemic, there were direct flights from several major destinations to Antananarivo, including Johannesburg, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Paris, Istanbul, and Port Louis; all commercial flights are currently suspended.  The government is keen to increase connectivity to other regions including the United States, the Middle East, China, and India once they re-open borders.  Madagascar has ratified and signed the universal Open Skies agreement.  In a bid to attract major airlines and international tourists, Madagascar has completed construction of a new international terminal (still to open) at Ivato International Airport and increased the number of upscale tourist accommodations.  The government also terminated Air Madagascar’s partnership with Air Austral in July 2020 in a bid to find new ways to increase Air Madagascar’s flight network.

Business Customs  

The legal system and business practices are based on European, particularly French, standards.  

Business customs are similar to 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 (May till October).  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 by clicking 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 go to the link at


The local currency symbol is MGA, called the “Ariary”.  As of July 2021, one U.S. dollar could be exchanged for approximately 3,800 MGA.  


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. 

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.

The population has limited access to electricity - 15 percent in urban areas and only 6 percent in rural zones.  

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 what is available in 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 qualified labor.


Air transportation is the best way to get around Madagascar, as travel by road is both long and difficult.  Tsaradia and Air Madagascar 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 or French.


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

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 8:30 – 1700, 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.

For 2021, Madagascar has 12 public holidays. 




Holiday name 




January 1 

New Year’s Day 

National holiday 



March 29 

Martyrs Day 

National holiday 



April 5

Easter Monday 

National holiday 



May 1 

Labor Day 

National holiday 

International Workers’ Day 


May 13

Ascension Day 

National holiday 

40 days after Easter 


May 12-13

Eid al-Fitr 

National holiday 

Date may change depending on the full moon 


May 24

Whit Monday 

National holiday 

7th Monday after Easter 


June 26 

Independence Day 

National holiday 

National Day 


July 20

Eid Al-Adha 

National holiday 



August 15 

Assumption Day 

National holiday 



November 1 

All Saints’ Day 

National holiday 



December 25 

Christmas Day 

National holiday 


Temporary Entry of Materials or Personal Belongings

No duty is levied on apparel and personal effects of a passenger arriving in Madagascar.  Articles that are in excess of 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:  

  • Portable musical instrument 
  • Portable medical apparatus and wheelchair 
  • Portable Dialysis machine and Consumables 
  • 2 perfumes and 2 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 drink: 2 liters per passport for each passenger +18 years old or over 
  • 250 grams of punched jewelry; 250 grams of costume jewelry 
  • 400,000Ar of banknotes denominated in local currency 
  • Electronic device: 1 laptop, 1 phone & tablet 
  • Clothing and shoes: 6 pairs of closed shoes 
  • 1 handheld camera, 1 handheld radio, and 1 other camera not for professional use 

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