Earlier known as the Malagasy Republic, Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island, and the second largest island country in the world! Located in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of East Africa, Madagascar is strategically located in the axis of Africa-Asia and is the ideal destination for any project in the textile apparel industry, offering one of the most attractive locations in the world for low -cost apparel production. In fact, Madagascar was one of the first countries in Africa to establish an export apparel industry. The industry first took off in 1989 and today includes more than 100 global and local firms employing over 200 thousand workforce (over 60 per cent being women) in the textile industry.
Why Madagascar is a preferred apparel manufacturing destination?
The variety of apparels showing labels of ‘Country of Origin: Madagascar carries a pride of place in well-known stores in USA as well as Europe. Some of the best known global fashion brands are manufactured in Madagascar including Zara, Express, JCPenney, CK, One Jeanswear Group, Puma, Dockers, M&S, Petit Bateau and many more. The country’s apparel industry has shown a consistent upward climb in terms of revenue every year . Out of the total export of apparel clothing from Madagascar, the major importing countries are Europe, USA ,UK as well as the Republic of South Africa.
The biggest added benefit for Madagascar is Free Trade Agreement with most major international economies and the unrestricted duty-free access to the United States under AGOA ( African Growth and Opportunities Act) and the European Union under EPA
( Economic Partnership Agreement).
Besides being duty-free, the major advantages of these agreements are:
- Madagascar can utilise third party imported fabrics, convert them into garments and they are still eligible for its Zero Duty benefits .
- There are also several other bilateral trade agreements and double taxation benefits deal signed by Madagascar .
- Largest textile mill in Madagascar, Groupe Socota – Socota Fabrics , known for all kinds of woven fabrics , is located 160 kms away from the capital city of Antananarivo – and is well-known in Madagascar as the COTONA fabric mill since 80 years!
In terms of infrastructure, the port city Toamasina meaning ‘like salt’ or ‘salty’, also called as Tamatave in French, is located on the East Coast of Madagascar .It is the first commercial chief port on the Big Island ,therefore, the first port of entry and handling of containers, raw materials, fabrics dry, liquid cargo and general cargo. It has a modern container terminal with warehouses and yard space available. The port meets all international standards and uses all the professional IT tools for operation planning and management.
Madagascar has 12 airports, out of which 6 are international airports. IVATO International Airport in the capital city of Antananarivo is the most important airport and point of entry to Madagascar.
A large number of global apparel firms have chosen to establish operations in Madagascar across all kinds of product categories in knits and woven – out of which the majority is woven garments. In terms of product categories, the region offers all kinds of casual, high fashion, sportswear and medical clothing for all genders.
The investment laws in the country encourage investors to set up their own companies in Madagascar with :
- Freedom to hold up to 100 per cent shares
- Equal rights to invest for all nationalities
- Freedom to recruit and dismiss foreign employees
- Protection of patent rights
- Respect for international labour norms (no child employment, no discrimination)
- Social compliance and sustainability certificates for fabrics and garments’ quality such as ISO, WRAP, OCS,SMETA ,GOTS,BCI etc
In addition to the dynamic textile and apparel industry, the country has a lot more to offer which has mostly remained unknown to the world.
Madagascar – A haven for tourists
Madagascar is a beautiful country; it immediately gives a sense of belongingness and comfort from the time a person arrives. Adapting to life in Madagascar is normally easy as the country welcomes tourists and professionals from all parts of the world. The local population is used to working with expats from different countries. The country is open to different nationalities from different countries – France, Belgium, Tunisia , Mauritius , India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and China. The local people are warm and kind and ready to lend a helping hand and very respectful towards all.
All the companies in the apparel industry are well connected with each other, they support each other and recommend the factories to the new customers based on their product line. This is something rare in today’s competitive world and reflects a spirit of dignity and transparency in doing business.
Football is the favourite sport in Madagascar .The team is called as the BAREA. With great pride, the team has been actively taking part in the African football league and all the other sports events .
The Malagasy people love music and karaoke .Most of them are very good singers .They are fun loving people and mastering the French language helps to communicate with most .
Madagascar has some of the world’s most unique flora, fauna and awesome beaches! if you go there for a holiday, Madagascar has a lot to offer. You can relax on untouched beaches or plunge off the grid into pristine rainforest or take long walks along the avenues of the Baobab trees! Most of these trees are over 100 feet tall. The Baobab is one of the few tree species that has resisted deforestation and especially survived the bush fires that have decimated the surrounding dry forests. The sunset stroll among the gigantic Baobab trees is magical!
About 80 per cent of the world’s vanilla is grown in the hilly forests of Madagascar. Madagascar is the main vanilla producer in the world with more than 30 000 hectares of plantations on the island.
Madagascar is world-famous for its lemurs —primates that look something like a cat crossed with a squirrel and along tail. Madagascar has about half the world’s 150 or so species of chameleons, including the world’s tiniest chameleon!
The country is also rich in precious and semi-precious stones: ruby, sapphire, emerald, aquamarine, beryl, tourmaline, topaz, garnet, cordierite, rose quartz, amethyst and citrine. The precious stone markets are a major attraction for tourists.
The country has the most fascinating beaches and lagoons – Bello sur Mer and Morondava and another one in the southern part of the country in Toliara district . All the beaches and the lagoons are totally different and unique in their beauty. The beaches in Toliara are different – it’s like a semi-desert landscape that is so typical of the region. Nestled on a large coastal plain flanked by mangroves, sand beaches and coral reefs, the lagoon overlooks the splendid Mozambique Channel. Weather conditions are ideal, with good visibility year-round and balmy water temperatures.
The biggest and the most picturesque popular tourist beach destination in Madagascar is Nosy Be. This is one of the largest island surrounding the coast of Madagascar, Nosy Be means ‘big island’ in traditional Malagasy. The island is also known as Nosy Manitra which means the ‘scented island’. The Nosy be island has become famous for one of the rarest species of the Omura whale.
Malagasy art is with all the earth, wood, fibres, metal, stone, leather and zebu horn, fabric… and even discarded tins which are transformed into model cars amazingly true to the real ones. A variety of different kinds of souvenirs – jute bags, coasters, paintings, wooden carvings are exported out of Madagascar.
Indeed, anything with COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: MADAGASCAR, is fascinating, be it apparels or the scenic beauty and various other attractions for tourists, or the lovely local people who welcome visitors with a warm heart and hospitality, and the local greeting SALAAMA!