Business Etiquette In Madagascar

October 18, 2020
7 mins read

 “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” –Saint Augustine If there’s one thing that never gets old, it’s traveling. Here’s a chance to experience new languages, new cultures, and new people. Experiences that can stimulate your curiosity and push your boundaries. We want to explore this vibrant, diverse, and enchanting land. 

A land where French and Malagasy, the official languages, peacefully and peacefully coexist. A land that will leave you in a trance. You will want to come back for more. I’m talking about Madagascar. If you are a businessman and you are keen to travel to Madagascar, you should know that you have to deal with one of the most different business cultures in the world. Here are some things you should note when handling business etiquette in Madagascar. 

Do be aware, however, that this is a general guide. Always obey the business rules! Make sure that you always deal with it with care. 

  1. Rounding off a meeting For foreigners, the best business practice in Madagascar is rounding off. You will often ask a friend what the current exchange rate is. The answer is like this: “I’ll not look at money when I go out.” Another way is to ask the bank to give you a specific amount. But if you ask them to give you a specific amount, they will ask how many thousands it is. For example, you want to pay $50 / $100 / $500/ $1000 or $5000. Ready to buy here? Do you want to learn more about Madagascar? Visit the Ethno Business Advice Madagascar Facebook Page. 

  2. Physical contact Most business people in Madagascar greet each other with a handshake. However, if they are close friends or relatives they will usually hug each other. When there is an appointment, the visitor will invite the hosts to come to the meeting. If you want to invite a Malagasy acquaintance, let them know a week in advance. However, during the meeting, they will attend on time. They will not expect you to talk immediately, but they will talk with time. 

  3. Being confident Talking about a product or service requires confidence. You should be sure of your product or service. If you know that the product or service is one of the best that you offer, this will help you communicate your competence to the person with whom you are in direct contact. You will no longer be the only person who is willing to go to the end. This means that you can now go all out, look for real solutions to problems. 

  4. Pay attention to names We often meet people in our lives, but we do not always remember their names. I can speak from experience. Meeting people is part of our lives, but the emphasis should be on communication and being friendly. If you do not understand, ask them to repeat. Malagasy people in Madagascar greet each other by shaking hands, hugging, or kissing. In an interview it is important to remember the name of the person you talk to. It is also an indication of your interest in that person. 

  5. Open the door for women This is actually good manners. Secondly, in Madagascar, it is customary that the man is in front. Even if the door is closed, the man will open the door to allow the female to pass through. 

  6. Avoid criticism Necessarily. do not make it a point to scold or discourage others. In French, criticize is a matter of “mise en garde”. This word applies to those who are assigned by someone (management) to disclose the problems and responsibilities of another person, advising him to myke something. In Madagascar, they do not like to be threatened or criticized. And even if something is wrong, they will just blame themselves. If good news is coming, we need to praise the good qualities possessed by that person. I am one of your lawyers. Did you have a moment of doubt about the problem you have? I can help you. 

  7. Pay attention to the details A businessman (international) that is about to do business in Madagascar has to know this. It is the little things. For Malagasy it is the little things that will provide joy. For example, making a cup of coffee or tea, preparing a table with food, or providing a towel in the bathroom, putting music on, and being sure to turn off the lights. Personal attention is very important. 

  8. It’s all about people First Did you ever get to where it was very cold? Or so hot? I know the feeling, and I know you know it too. However, we have never met before in our lives; it’s a matter of trust. In Madagascar, if you have received a gift, you will not be able to return it or give it to someone else. Next time, this gift must be returned with an extra gift. And if it takes two times, a third gift will be added to the first two. It can be a bit complicated, but it is important to realize that in Madagascar it is all about people. 

  9. A smile goes a long way So do not be afraid to smile. For them, smiling is a gift. No matter how good or bad your day is, when you smile, someone will find it. Or someone will come to the other extreme! Why? It’s funny. For Malagasy, the smile is a gift of God. The ambassador of Madagascar recently said, “we have property, we have land, we have the money, we have power, but they have none of these. They have only one thing: SMILE.” 

Greetings in Madagascar

In Madagascar – like it is in several parts of Africa – business people greet each other with a handshake or with a hug if they are friends or very close relatives. They certainly do not kiss. The most common form of greeting is a handshake. After a handshake, some people will greet each other at the waist. This is the Malagasy form of hugging. 

Business cards

Business cards are used only in big companies or among the elite. 

Visiting the office of a business contact

If you start a business in Malagasy, you should be well equipped with business cards. If you are a visitor, make sure the local businessman knows a week ahead of time that you are coming. And if you want to invite a Malagasy acquaintance in your house, it is better to send the invitation a week in advance. 

Meeting and chatting

In Madagascar, the first person who speaks is always the person who is in higher position or has the most authority and the highest status. 

Religion in business

  • In Madagascar, we are free to practice our religious beliefs. 
  • Using mobile phones in business
  • The mobile phone is now a must in business. 
  • Dining and drinking habits

Malagasy people – especially the elite – take the time to eat slowly. Man does not taste food quickly or hastily. They take this habit from the French, but changing it is not so easy. 

Gender differences

If you want to do business in Madagascar, you must be aware of this. Women are often disadvantaged in business. 


Touching someone is not allowed in Madagascar. 

Business interactions

There are some clear differences between the business structure in Madagascar and that in the West. The most important thing to know is that in Madagascar, even in big companies, there is no hierarchy. 

Business negotiations

In business negotiations, it is customary to start with a phone call or text message. This is followed by another text message that contains your offer that is intended to be in front of this person. Once the offer is accepted, they will react and send another text with a counter offer. The counter will be accepted and the meeting will be held. The best option is to have your bank with you. If there is no progress, you can go to the bank and the bank will help you solve the problem. 

The end of business negotiations

Once the decision is made, there will be preparation for the official meeting. Be sure all your documents are ready, and perhaps a translator. The location will be ready with a special seating plan. A menu may be provided with the meeting program. 

Business correspondence

In business correspondence, just like in Madagascar’s political life, it is necessary to know the formality and protocol. 

Dealing with people

It is very important to understand the people in Madagascar. Their lifestyle will be very different than yours. Therefore, it will take some time to know them. 

Public transportation

There are zebus, cars, trucks, and vans in Madagascar. Cars are the exclusive property of the elite. The elite use zebus to go around the city because they are the best means to chase their deals. 


Traveling in Madagascar is already an adventure on its own. You must know your destination, your route, and any checkpoints. Once you get to the checkpoint, you need a ticket that shows that you are authorized to travel. 

Getting around

Once you get to a checkpoint, you will have to show your passport and the ticket. You just have to understand the way the Malagasy think. To go to the central market, a big crowded market, go through one of the guards and ask him to take you there. And do not forget your camera. 


In Madagascar, some of the most modern things you can find are red fire engines. This could be due to lack of money. This is the case of many things that look like they have been thrown out in the trash. 

Food in Madagascar

The Malagasy cuisine requires that certain foods be prepared in a specific way. The cooking requires knowledge, imagination, and a lot of spices. The table will always have enough food. 

Dress of Madagascar

Rising where you are, pay attention to the details, a visitor or a visitor or customer should be dressed appropriately. 

Throwing a party

There are things you need to plan before you organize a party. First, prepare the menu in advance. Organize the party menu with the help of your cook. Plan the party activities, games, prizes. Invite your friends and family members to join you. Invite friends or relatives from the beginning. 

Entertainment and the company owner

Entertainment is an integral part of the Malagasy culture. The company owner is often the center of the entertainment events. This is the time for associating with the leaders. It is a great opportunity to build and maintain a positive image. 

Religious holidays

In Madagascar, they practice different religions. Each year, the Malagasy celebrate all religious holidays. 

The sick

When we are sick, we have several options. We can go to a hospital, go to a pharmacy, and we can also look for a healer. In Madagascar, there are traditional healers. 

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About Levi Keswick

LeviKeswick serves as a vibrant hub for diverse individuals to share their stories, absorb and contribute to emerging fashion trends, lifestyle concepts, and innovative ideas. We offer valuable insights and advice, amalgamating information painstakingly curated by experts in the field, alongside fashion connoisseurs and influential social media personalities.