What currency does Madagascar use?

Travel Destinations

By Kristy Tolley

Introduction to Madagascar’s Currency

Madagascar is a beautiful island country located off the coast of Southeast Africa. It is known for its unique flora and fauna, including the famous lemurs. However, before you plan your trip to Madagascar, it is important to understand the country’s currency system. Madagascar has its own currency, known as the Malagasy Ariary, which is the official currency of the country. In this article, we will provide you with an overview of Madagascar’s currency system and guide you on how to exchange and use currency in the country.

History of Currency in Madagascar

Prior to the colonization of Madagascar, the island had its own local currencies, including the cowrie shells and the zebu horns. Later on, during the colonial era, Madagascar used the French franc as its official currency. It wasn’t until 1961, a year after Madagascar gained independence, that the country introduced its own currency, the Malagasy franc. However, in 2005, the Malagasy government introduced the Malagasy Ariary as its new official currency, replacing the Malagasy franc.

The Malagasy Ariary: The Official Currency

The Malagasy Ariary is the official currency of Madagascar. The currency is named after the local unit of weight used to measure gold and silver dust in Madagascar. The Ariary is abbreviated as MGA, and it is divided into five subunits known as iraimbilanja. One iraimbilanja is equal to 1/5 of an Ariary. The currency is managed by the Central Bank of Madagascar, which is responsible for issuing banknotes and coins.

Overview of the Malagasy Ariary

The Malagasy Ariary is denoted by the symbol "Ar" and is available in banknotes of 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, and 10,000 Ariary denominations. The coins include 1/2, 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 Ariary denominations. The Ariary is a relatively stable currency, and its value fluctuates against other currencies such as the US dollar and the Euro.

Banknotes and Coins in Madagascar

The banknotes in Madagascar are available in various denominations, ranging from 100 to 10,000 Ariary. All the banknotes feature important national symbols, such as the baobab tree, the lemurs, and the national flag. The coins in Madagascar are available in denominations ranging from 1/2 Ariary to 500 Ariary. The coins feature important national symbols, such as the zebu cattle, the national emblem, and the coat of arms.

Exchange Rate of the Malagasy Ariary

The exchange rate of the Malagasy Ariary fluctuates against other currencies, such as the US dollar and the Euro. As of August 2021, one US dollar is equivalent to 4,152 Ariary, while one Euro is equivalent to 4,928 Ariary. The exchange rate is subject to change, depending on various economic, political, and social factors.

Where to Exchange Currency in Madagascar

Currency exchange services are available in banks and exchange bureaus throughout Madagascar. It is recommended to exchange currency at official exchange bureaus or banks to avoid scams and fraud. Some popular exchange bureaus in Madagascar include Tana Exchange, Cash Plus, and Globex.

ATMs and Credit Cards in Madagascar

ATMs are available in major cities and towns in Madagascar, and they accept both local and foreign debit and credit cards. However, it is advisable to use ATMs during the day and in well-lit areas to avoid any security risks. Credit cards are accepted in major hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions. However, it is important to note that most establishments in Madagascar only accept cash payments.

Using Foreign Currency in Madagascar

While it is possible to use foreign currency in Madagascar, it is advisable to exchange your foreign currency for Malagasy Ariary to avoid any currency conversion fees or scams. It is recommended to carry cash in the form of banknotes or coins, as most establishments in Madagascar do not accept foreign coins.

Tips for Currency Exchange in Madagascar

When exchanging currency in Madagascar, it is advisable to compare exchange rates before making a transaction. It is also important to check for hidden fees and commissions, which some exchange bureaus may charge. Finally, it is essential to keep your currency exchange receipts for future reference.

The Central Bank of Madagascar is responsible for regulating and overseeing the country’s currency system. There are no restrictions on the import or export of local or foreign currency, but it is mandatory to declare any amount exceeding $10,000 when entering or leaving the country.

Conclusion: Understanding Currency in Madagascar

The Malagasy Ariary is the official currency of Madagascar, and it is available in banknotes and coins of various denominations. It is advisable to exchange currency at official exchange bureaus or banks to avoid scams and fraud. While it is possible to use foreign currency in Madagascar, it is recommended to exchange your currency for Malagasy Ariary to avoid any currency conversion fees or scams. By following these tips and guidelines, you can ensure a seamless currency exchange experience in Madagascar.

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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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