Madagascar, also known as the Republic of Madagascar, is an island nation situated approximately 200 miles off of the southeast coast of Africa. It is the fourth largest island and 47th largest country in the world with an area covering approximately 587,000 square kilometers. It has a population of 21.2 million and is one of the poorest nations in Africa. In fact, 90% of the population lives on less than US $2 per day. 52% of the entire population maintains their indigenous religious beliefs and 41% believe in Christianity. On many religious occasions, there is a syncretic amalgamation of both. The island was ruled by French from 1895 to 1957 hence French is one of the national languages as well as Malagasy. 90% of the plant and animals found in Madagascar are unique to the island and are found nowhere else in the world. To the east of Madagascar lies French territory of Reunion while Mauritius and state of Comoros to the northwest. These are some of the biggest cities in Madagascar.
Biggest Cities in Madagascar.
Antananarivo is the capital city of Madagascar and was formerly known as Tananarive. It has the highest population of any city in the country at approximately 1,299,080 residents. It is located at a central strategic point on the island. It was founded in the early 1600 and was captured by the Imerina kings in 1794 and ruled it up to the 19th Century. It is the heart of Madagascar political, economic, educational, and cultural activities as the headquarters of many national, international, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are located here. Air transport is majorly used in the town, and an international airport is located in Ivato 11 miles north. It is home to 50 churches and a mosque.
Toamasina is located on the east coast of Madagascar and is the capital of the Atsinanana region. It is the country’s chief seaport and is located nearly 134 miles northeast of Antananarivo. It is the second most populated city with 274,667. This port serves as the country’s most important gateway to the Indian Ocean and the world. It is home to several wide selections of hotels and restaurants. The coastal line has irresistible beautiful beaches, but swimming is discouraged due to the existence of sharks. In the heart of the city is the central market which specializes in exotic spices and locally made handicraft. It is one of the most popular sites in the city.
Antsirabe is the third largest city in Madagascar with a population of 238,478. It is known for its relatively cool climate and the presence of multiple thermal springs in the area. It is situated at an altitude of around 4,900 feet and has a subtropical highland climate. The majority of the population come from an ethnic group of Merina who speaks the Highland dialect of Malagasy and also French. Different denominations are represented in the city with the presence of two churches and two mosques and Traditional practices aren’t also left out. Economically, it is the home of an export processing zone and several factories ranging from beverage plants, textile, and grain. There are several tourist attraction sites in the city, for instance, thermal bath Center opened in 1917, the railway station of 1923 the volcanic Lake Tritriva among others.
Mahajanga is a city as well as an administrative district located along the northwest coast of Madagascar. It is the capital of the Boeny region with a population of 220,629. It is the second largest seaport in the country after Toamasina. Only small ships anchor at the terminal because of limited water at the wharf, resulting in bigger ships anchoring off the terminal. It is also one of the favorite tourist attraction sites for both local and international tourist due to the beautiful beaches, coconut-lined boardwalk, and rain-free weather.
Problems Facing Cities in Madagascar
Madagascar is regarded as a third world third country. The poverty levels are high and the living standards are below what are considered adequate by international standards. Urbanization and rural-to-urban migrations have led to poor provisioning of amenities such as healthcare, education, water, and sanitation within the country. The rates of HIV in the cities are also high compared to the rural areas. Climatic change due to global warming is affecting agricultural patterns across the country and the state can barely feed itself. Poor infrastructure is a challenge as many people living in the cities are forced to cope with poor housing and roads.