Madagascar - Personal background
Marc Ravalomanana was born in 1953 in the village of Imerikasina 15 miles outside Antananarivo. His is a "rags-toriches" story. He was educated by missionaries in his home village and completed high school in Sweden at a strict parochial school. In his twenties he decided that his future lay in business. He left his academic pursuits to sell yogurt, which he produced at home with help from Lalao, his wife, and sold off the back of his bicycle in Antananarivo. Utilizing his connections in the Protestant Church, he obtained a loan from the World Bank, and within two years opened a factory. From this inauspicious beginning, Ravalomanana expanded TIKO into the largest Malagasy-owned enterprise in the country with a monopoly on all dairy and oil products. He also owns the private Malagasy Broadcasting System, which operates the MBS TV and Radio MBS networks.