A self-made multi-millionaire, Mr Ravalomanana is the embodiment of the rags to riches story.
From humble beginnings he was educated by missionaries in his village of Imerikasina, 25 kilometres outside Antananarivo.
He completed his secondary education in Sweden at a strict Protestant school.
Mr Ravalomanana was in his early 20s when he abandoned the academic road to become a businessman.
He started producing home made yogurt which he sold on the streets of Antananarivo off the back of his bicycle, with the help of his wife Lalao.
Less than two years later, assisted by the Protestant Church, of which today he is the vice president, Mr Ravalomanana managed to secure a loan from the World Bank to purchase his first factory.
Today his sprawling empire TIKO, the largest non foreign owned company in Madagascar, has a monopoly on all dairy and oil products sold on the island.