Trade continues to run heavily in Madagascar's disfavor, with imports exceeding exports by more than US$200 million. Although there are signs the situation may be improving, the disparity remains debilitating.
The main trading partner is Madagascar's old colonial patron, France, which in 1998 took 39.6 percent of its total exports, at a value of US$349 million. France in turn supplied 24.1 percent of its imports, mostly machinery
|Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Madagascar|
|SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.|
|Exchange rates: Madagascar|
|Malagasy francs (FMG) per US$1|
|SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].|
(25.7 percent), textiles and clothes (16.1 percent), chemicals (13.2 percent), and transport equipment (10.6 percent). Other buyers of Malagasy goods are Mauritius (6.9 percent), the United States (5.9 percent), and Germany (4.4 percent). Germany was also the source of 7.3 percent imports, while Iranian oil accounted for a further 7.1 percent.
Under the Lomé Convention, Madagascar enjoys preferential entry to European export markets. It is also a member of the 20-nation Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa trade group (COMESA), whose long-term plans include monetary union and a common central bank. Madagascar has also applied to join the similarly aimed Southern African Development Community (SADC).