About country profiles

The country profiles are intended to provide some background and context for the descriptions of the churches. These profiles should be read in conjunction with those of the churches in the country.

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Surface area:578000 km2
GNI per capita:300 US$
Classification:Least developed country




Christian: 52.00%

African traditional: 46.00%

Muslim: 2.00%


Protestants: 5637000

Catholics: 4226000

Anglicans: 330000

Orthodox: 23200

Independent: 828520

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Madagascar is the fourth island in the world by size. It was settled by people who had migrated from the Indonesian archipelago, probably in the 9th or 10th century. In the early 19th century a king established a monarchy covering most of the island, which lasted until France invaded Madagascar in 1895. Armed resistance went on for several years, especially in the south, and in the 1920s a movement of young intellectuals militated for political autonomy. In 1947 an uprising in the east of the island was crushed by the French, killing some 100,000 people. Madagascar became independent in 1960. The population consists of 18 ethnic groups, with marked differences between the central highlands and the coastal areas, but culturally close to each other and speaking one language. Politically the country has gone through several stages, from close cooperation with France to a socialist regime and strong nationalist orientations in the 1970s and ‘80s, and democratization in the 1990s. After a political crisis in 2001-02, a more liberalminded government emerged. The economy is based on subsistence farming, export of coffee and vanilla, and some manufacturing industry. The churches have played a major role in the formation of national identity, and since independence, in the political situation and the development of the country. The two large Protestant churches and the Catholic and Anglican churches have formed the Christian Council. Since the 1990s there has been an influx of Pentecostal, Charismatic and independent churches, which continue to grow.


WCC member churches based in Madgascar

WCC member churches present in Madgascar

    Note: The list of churches present in countries is still in development.

    Last updated: 01/01/06