Madagascar, the World's fourth largest island, is about 1,000 miles long and 350 miles wide at its widest point, and lies 250 miles off the East Africa coast. Economically considered a Least Developed Country, its population numbers over 18.5 million.
The island has a wide variety of natural resources – graphite, chromite, coal, bauxite, salt quartz, tar sands, semiprecious stones, mica, fish and hydropower. However, the economy remains largely dependent on the exportation of agriculture products – coffee, vanilla, sugar and cotton cloth amongst others – for continued economic growth, instead of employing Madagascar’s natural resources as a source of consistent economic growth. Though, it should be noted that some of Madagascar’s natural resources – most notably exports of shellfish and chromite – have contributed to economic expansion in recent years.