An island nation in the Indian Ocean near the East African coast, Madagascar’s imports totaled US$3.9 billion in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 17.1% increase since 2014 and a 7.5% improvement from 2017 to 2018.
Malagasy imports represent a miniscule 0.02% of total global imports which totaled $17.788 trillion one year earlier in 2017.
From a continental perspective, 61.8% of Madagascar’s total imports by value in 2018 were purchased from Asian countries. European trade partners supplied 21% of import purchases by Madagascar while 12.3% worth of goods originated from fellow African traders. Smaller percentage came from North America (3.1%) and Latin America (1.4%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Given Madagascar’s population of 25.7 million people, its total $3.9 billion in 2018 imports translates to roughly $150 in yearly product demand from every person in the East African country.
Madagascar’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Madagascar’s import purchases during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Madagascar.
At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Madagascar’s most valuable imported products are refined petroleum oils ($616.3 million) followed by rice ($243.1 million), medications ($91.6 million), trucks ($83.3 million), wheat ($70.2 million), palm oil ($67.7 million) then cars ($66.9 million).
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$682 million (17.4% of total imports)
- Machinery including computers: $316.4 million (8.1%)
- Cereals: $246.3 million (6.3%)
- Vehicles : $245.3 million (6.2%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $210.6 million (5.4%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $142.1 million (3.6%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $129.6 million (3.3%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $123.5 million (3.1%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $115.3 million (2.9%)
- Wool: $112.1 million (2.9%)
Madagascar’s top 10 imports accounted for about three-fifths (59.2%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Imported mineral fuels including oil had the fastest-growing increase in value among the top 10 import categories, up 26.6% from 2014 to 2018 due mainly to increased costs from refined petroleum oils.
In second place for improving import purchases were pharmaceuticals, up 21.3%. Malagasy imports of wool delivered the third-fastest gain up 14%.
The animal, vegetable fats, oils and waxes category was the laggard among the top 10 Malagasy imports, incurring a -17.7% decline.
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.
In 2018, Malagasy importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.
- Processed petroleum oils: US$616.3 million (up 30.7% from 2017)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $47.5 million (down -7.9%)
- Petroleum gases: $11.9 million (up 23.5%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $5 million (up 2.6%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $934,000 (up 15.5%)
- Asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes: $135,000 (up 159.6%)
- Natural bitumen, asphalt, shale: $132,000 (up 94.1%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $43,000 (up 87%)
- Distilled tar: $42,000 (down -48.8%)
- Coke, semi-coke: $13,000 (no 2017 data)
Among these import subcategories, Madagascar’s purchases of asphalt or petroleum bitumen mixes (up 159.6%), natural bitumen, asphalt and shale (up 94.1%) and high temperature distilled coal tar oils (up 87%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of mineral fuels-related imports among Malagasy businesses and consumers.
In 2018, Malagasy importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers.
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: US$30.7 million (up 24.7% from 2017)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $27.5 million (up 7.7%)
- Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $23 million (down -47.9%)
- Derricks, cranes: $18.9 million (up 319%)
- Industrial preparation machinery: $18.3 million (up 62.3%)
- Computers, optical readers: $14.1 million (up 7.5%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $13 million (up 1.2%)
- Machinery parts: $12.3 million (up 12.9%)
- Refrigerators, freezers: $11.5 million (up 59.8%)
- Temperature-change machines: $11.2 million (up 132.5%)
Among these import subcategories, Madagascar’s purchases of derricks and cranes (up 319%), temperature-change machines (up 132.5%) and industrial preparation machinery (up 62.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of machinery-related imports among Malagasy businesses and consumers.
In 2018, Malagasy importers spent the most on the following subcategories of cereals.
- Rice: US$243.1 million (down -3.1% from 2017)
- Corn: $2 million (down -44.3%)
- Sorghum grain: $1.1 million (up 73.4%)
- Buckwheat, millet, canary seed: $40,000 (up 900.0%)
- Wheat: $24,000 (up 242.9%)
Among these import subcategories, imports of buckwheat, millet and canary seeds (up 900%%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of cereals-related imports among Malagasy businesses and consumers.
In 2018, Malagasy importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.
- Trucks: US$83.3 million (down -17.6% from 2017)
- Cars: $66.9 million (down -16.5%)
- Tractors: $25.2 million (up 24.2%)
- Motorcycles: $22.7 million (up 28.5%)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $14 million (up 10.9%)
- Trailers: $13 million (up 33.2%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $8.9 million (down -12.6%)
- Motorcycle parts/accessories: $5.9 million (up 30%)
- Special purpose vehicles: $3.2 million (down -91.1%)
- Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $1.6 million (up 52.9%)
Among these import subcategories, Madagascar’s purchases of bicycles and other non-motorized cycles (up 52.9%), trailers (up 33.2%) and motorcycle parts or accessories (up 30%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of vehicles-related imports among Malagasy businesses and consumers.
See also Madagascar’s Top Trading Partners and Madagascar’s Top 10 Exports
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on January 22, 2019
The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on January 22, 2019
Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on January 22, 2019