The United States and Madagascar have been partners in development through USAID support for 37 years. However, U.S. assistance to Madagascar in the form of emergency food aid, loans, and grants goes back much further, dating to the early 1960s.

The USAID Madagascar field office officially opened in September 1984 to support policy reform, economic stabilization, and rehabilitation efforts underway at the time. Initial assistance provided during the four-year period of 1984 -1988 prioritized investment in the rice sector to increase agricultural production and emergency food aid. As Madagascar's unique biodiversity gained greater attention starting in the 1990s, USAID initiated its biodiversity and environmental conservation program with partners such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Missouri Botanical Gardens and Duke University. 

During this time, USAID was a key partner and the principal donor responsible for the establishment of Madagascar’s system of national parks, modeled on the American Parks System. USAID supported the creation of many of Madagascar’s most iconic national parks.

In 1990, Madagascar was designated as a priority aid recipient, and assistance increased from $15 million in 1989 to $40 million in 1993. Madagascar was one of the first countries to qualify for the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) "Wearing Apparel" provisions, enabling the emergence of a significant textile and garments export sector in Madagascar that remains an important part of its economy.  In 2006 Madagascar signed a United States Government Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact for $110 million – the first in the world.

A coup d’état in 2009 resulted in Madagascar’s loss of both the MCC compact and AGOA privileges.  On June 26, 2014, following the restoration of democratic rule, President Obama announced the reinstatement of Madagascar’s eligibility for benefits under AGOA.

In coordination with the Government of Madagascar, the United States, through USAID, delivers assistance in the areas of health, food security and emergency assistance, environment and biodiversity, energy, and governance through non-governmental organizations, community associations, and other private groups. In 2020, the United States provided $133.5 million to Madagascar, including $74.5 million for the health sector where the United States is the largest single-country donor.  Since 2015, USAID has committed over $229 million for emergency and development assistance to southern and southeastern Madagascar.  This assistance has helped over 1.5 million Malagasy citizens survive devastating droughts in these regions.  USAID assistance transforms the lives of millions of Malagasy people throughout the country.

Mr. John Dunlop has been the Mission Director of USAID Madagascar since September 2018.