Based on the average exchange rate for 2020, the Malagasy ariary depreciated by -19.2% against the US dollar since 2016 and declined by -4.7% from 2019 to 2020. Madagascar’s weaker local currency makes Malagasy imports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively more expensive when converted starting from Malagasy’s national currency.
From a continental perspective, 61.1% of Madagascar’s total imports by value in 2020 were purchased from Asian countries. European trade partners supplied 21.1% of import purchases by Madagascar while 12.4% worth of goods originated from fellow African traders. Smaller percentage came from North America (2.8%), Latin America (2.2%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Oceania (0.5%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
Given Madagascar’s population of 27.6 million people, its total $3.2 billion in 2020 imports translates to roughly $120 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 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Madagascar.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$406.1 million (12.6% of total imports)
- Machinery including computers: $258.2 million (8%)
- Cereals: $204.7 million (6.4%)
- Vehicles: $188.2 million (5.8%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $160.2 million (5%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $149.2 million (4.6%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $140.4 million (4.4%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $110.6 million (3.4%)
- Cotton: $94.7 million (2.9%)
- Wool: $80.2 million (2.5%)
Madagascar’s top 10 imports approach three-fifths (55.7%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Imported animal or vegetable fats, oils and waxes (up 29%) and cereals (up 24.6%) were the two product categories to expand from 2019 to 2020.
Leading the decliners was the mineral fuels including oil category via a -40.7% decrease.
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 2020, Malagasy importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.
- Processed petroleum oils: US$370.2 million (down -40.5% from 2019)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $18.8 million (down -56.4%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $8.7 million (up 0.9%)
- Petroleum gases: $7.4 million (down -28.5%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $924,000 (up 12.4%)
- Asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes: $68,000 (down -58.5%)
- Peat: $54,000 (up 134.8%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $39,000 (down -18.8%)
- Coke, semi-coke: $9,000 (down -30.8%)
- Natural bitumen, asphalt, shale: $5,000 (down -98.3%)
Among these import subcategories, Madagascar’s purchases of peat (up 134.8%), petroleum jelly and mineral waxes (up 12.4%) and petroleum oil residues (up 0.9%) grew from 2019 to 2020.
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 2020, Malagasy importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers.
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: US$24.6 million (down -9.5% from 2019)
- Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $21.2 million (up 41.9%)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $19.6 million (down -29.4%)
- Computers, optical readers: $13.9 million (down -14.7%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $12.8 million (down -1.9%)
- Miscellaneous industrial preparation machines: $11 million (up 13.6%)
- Sort/screen/washing machinery: $10 million (up 17.1%)
- Miscellaneous machinery: $9.9 million (up 40.5%)
- Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines: $8 million (down -15.4%)
- Refrigerators, freezers: $7.8 million (down -34.5%)
Among these import subcategories, Madagascar’s purchases of heavy machinery like bulldozers and excavators (up 41.9%), miscellaneous machinery (up 40.5%) and sorting, screening and washing machinery (up 17.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020.
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 2020, Malagasy importers spent the most on the following subcategories of cereals.
- Rice: US$179.8 million (up 24.3% from 2019)
- Wheat: $19.7 million (up 29.9%)
- Sorghum grain: $4.4 million (up 21.2%)
- Corn: $808,000 (up 2.9%)
Among these import subcategories, Madagascar’s purchases of wheat and rice grew at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of electric items including consumer electronics among Malagasy businesses and consumers.
In 2020, Malagasy importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.
- Trucks: US$61.2 million (down -53.1% from 2019)
- Cars: $56.1 million (down -29%)
- Motorcycles: $16.1 million (down -5.7%)
- Tractors: $13.5 million (down -3.7%)
- Special purpose vehicles: $12 million (up 92.9%)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $10 million (down -26.3%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $7.3 million (up 4.8%)
- Trailers: $6.6 million (up 6.1%)
- Motorcycle parts/accessories: $4 million (down -17%)
- Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $776,000 (down -38.2%)
Among these import subcategories, Madagascar’s purchases of special purpose vehicles (up 92.9%), trailers (up 6.1%) and public-transport vehicles (up 4.8%) grew from 2019 to 2020.
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 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: Country Profiles. Accessed on March 8, 2021
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on March 8, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 8, 2021
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on March 8, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Madagascar. Accessed on March 8, 2021
Wikipedia, Madagascar. Accessed on March 8, 2021