Madagascar is an island country in the Indian Ocean, off the east coast of Africa, with a population of 17.3 million and capital city of Antananarivo. It was under French colonial rule beginning in 1898 until getting its independence in 1960. The country had almost 20 years of Marxist government until 1990. In 2001, an election occurred that resulted in months of civil unrest. Bad agricultural methods are causing environmental damage such as deforestation, soil erosion, and desertification and is of major concern. 
- National state radio and TV came under the control of presidential contender Marc Ravalomanana in March 2002 during the power struggle with veteran leader Didier Ratsiraka. Mr Ravalomanana also owns the private Malagasy Broadcasting System, which operates the MBS TV and Radio MBS networks. Many private radio stations in the capital are owned by pro-Ravalomanana politicians.
World Bank and Madagascar government fund religious education
The World Bank along with the government of Madagascar are funding the religious education of visiting Madagascar students at Abilene Christian University (ACU) in Abilene, Texas, USA. An official from the University, who was sponsored by the U.S.-Madagascar Business Council, went to Madagascar to arrange the program.
A press release by the University said on January 24, 2005, "Marc Ravalomanana, president of the Republic of Madagascar, a developing nation off the southeastern coast of Africa, will be on the campus of Abilene Christian University Feb. 5-6 visiting the 24 Malagasy students sent to ACU by the government of Madagascar to help develop future leaders for the nation. President Ravalomanana will speak at a public luncheon Feb. 6 in the ACU Teague Special Events Center."
President Ravalomanana, who is a Christian himself, said, "The key to the development of Madagascar is having educated men and women with character and leadership,” Ravalomanana said. “That is why I sent these students to ACU. I trust the administration of this university. I know they can help us."
Haja Razafinjatovo, the Madagascar Minister of National Education and Scientific Research, said, "We want these students to come back with a different mentality – a mentality of entrepreneurship, a mentality of leadership. I think Abilene Christian is one of the best places for them to be for their higher education. A Christian college is a plus for these students." 
- Marc Ravalomanana, President, wealthy businessman, won a second five-year term in December 2006. He is a free market reformer.
- Madagascar, National Geographic, accessed April 2008.
- Country profile: Madagascar, BBC, accessed April 2008.
- "President of Madagascar to visit ACU, speak at luncheon", Abilene Christian University, January 24, 2005.
- "Q & A: Madagascar election", BBC, December 1, 2006.
- "Malagasy leader gets more powers", BBC, April 11, 2007.