World Cup-bound Ghana turned out a powerful side but had to wait until the second half to break down a stubborn Madagascar and win 3-0 in their Group E game at Cape Coast.
Mohammed Kudus broke the deadlock after 54 minutes with 19-year-old AS Roma striker Felix Afena-Gyan grabbing a second two minutes later with an instinctive touch from a set piece.Substitute Osman Bukari broke away and rounded the goalkeeper for the third five minutes from time.
Ghana next play away against Central African Republic in neutral Angola on Sunday before heading to Japan for two testing friendlies next week as they look ahead to the tournament in Qatar in November and December.
Simon Nlend handed the visitors a first-half lead when the Angola defence stopped playing after they thought the ball had gone out of play in the build-up to the goal.
Libya beat Botswana 1-0 in Benghazi, in the opening Group J match, with Saleh Al Taher thrashing home the rebound after Sand Masaud had his 54th-minute penalty kick stopped by goalkeeper Goitseone Phoko.
The first two rounds of qualifying matches continue through to June 13.
Ivory Coast hosts the 2023 Cup of Nations finals in June 2023.