Monday, 18 January 2021

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Madagascar – the untold crisis

Farmers dig canals that will be used to irrigate their land once a dam is complete in Tsivory MadagascarThe former French colony in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Mozambique with a landmass 1.5 times that of Germany, but with a population of only 20 million, is now facing a huge humanitarian crisis, according to Natascha Paddison, acting Deputy Representative for UNICEF: “The country’s health and education systems are not really working, they are crumbling”, she says.


From Coup d’état to Roadmap

Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Mrs. Annan accompanied by their host MarcIn July 2002 Marc Ravolamanana, a prosperous businessman, was elected President of Madagascar by ousting the incumbent Ratsiraka. Ravolamanana pushed on an agenda that sought to reduce poverty and focused on economic growth and market liberalization. According to opinion polls up to 70% of the population approved his policies and he was re-elected in December 2006. However, in 2008 tensions rose between him and Andry Rajoelina, a very successful media entrepreneur and mayor of the capital city Antananarivo, a city of almost 2 million people.


3 questions to Natascha Paddison


  • Madagascar, a former French colony, is the world’s fourth-largest island. Located in the Indian Ocean, its 22 million people are a unique product of historical migrations from Africa, Arab countries, Southeast Asia, and Polynesia.

  • Madagascar ranks among the world’s poorest countries, with more than two-thirds of the population living below the poverty line.

  • The country suffers from a lasting political crisis since 2009. The origin of Madagascar's political crisis was the forced resignation of the elected president, Marc Ravalomanana, on March 17, 2009, in an effective military coup. Since then, Rajoelina, the former mayor of Antananarivo, has acted as the unelected head of state and of the High Transitional Authority (HAT).
  • The economy has declined since the political crisis. Unemployment, food, insecurity, crime and corruption are on the rise.

  • The country has reduced maternal mortality since 1990, but the ratio remains high.

  • The number of child labourers has risen to 2,000,000 children under the age of 15.

  • Over the last two decades, Madagascar has been one of a handful of countries to reduce its child mortality rate by 60 per cent. However data indicates a downward trend due to the political crisis.