Madagascar is one of the least developed countries in the world. In the most recent Human Development Index (HDI), Madagascar is ranked 162nd out of 189 countries.
More than three quarters of the population are living in extreme poverty. The share of poor people is particularly high in rural areas. One third of the people are considered to be malnourished. Among under-five-year-olds, nearly one in two children is affected by chronic malnutrition. Almost half of the people have no access to safe drinking water, and only 12 per cent have adequate sanitation. In the vanilla plantations and in the quarries, tens of thousands of children are working under what are sometimes slavery-like conditions.