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Tenure Insecurity

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Located off the south-eastern coast of Africa, Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world, with a land area of 581,800 sq km, 71% of which is used for agriculture. The majority of the 25.6 million inhabitants live in rural areas and 74% of the employed population work in agriculture. Madagascar has a wealth of unique wildlife and biodiversity that is increasingly attracting tourists. The country has experienced repeated political instability, including coups, violent unrest and disputed elections, and the political situation remains fragile.

Madagascar’s land tenure system has formal and community-based customary components. The formal part of the system recognises state and private land. The majority of landholders in Madagascar assert rights to the land under customary law. Population pressure has led to individualisation of customary land previously controlled as commons. Land management is a key issue in Madagascar and has been a significant factor in recent troubles. The protests that led to the coup d’état in 2009 were partly due to the government’s decision to grant or lease agricultural land to a South Korean company Daewoo. Women most commonly access land rights via a male relative, such as their husband, father, or brother.

Statistical Analysis

Prindex’s results show that 25% of respondents felt insecure about their tenure rights in 2018 – an equivalent of 3.3 million people aged 18 or over, and the same as the average of the first 15 countries. Sixty seven percent of the sample interviewed felt secure about their property rights and the remaining 8% refused or did not know how to answer the question. The north west region of Mahajanga had the highest proportion of respondents that felt insecure at 47%.

The tables and diagrams below show key Prindex results for Madagascar or you can download an infographic.


All respondents

All respondents

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Analysing Tenure Insecurity by category

Tenure type
Employment type
Income adequacy


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