Once an independent kingdom, Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, became a French colony in 1896, but regained its independence in 1960. Ruled since 1975, for nearly twenty years, by Didier Ratsiraka – a socialist military – it is characterized by a political system influenced by the power of the army. In the 2002 and 2009 elections, the army played a key role in the rise to the presidency of Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina. The latter, leader of the opposition movement ‘Determined Malagasy Youth’ (born in March 2009 with the support of the military) forced Ravalomanana to resign and exile, to then take office at the age of 34, violating between the another also the constitutional norm that fixed the minimum age for the presidency at 40 years. Since then Rajoelina has remained in office without the recognition of other political forces and the international community, which has suspended aid, starting with the EU, IMF and Wb, as well as the US and Norway, the main national donors. The failure of Rajoelina to respect the pre-electoral process led the Sadc to temporarily suspend the membership of Madagascar. In November 2010, a new Constitution was also approved by referendum which lowered the minimum age to participate in the presidential elections to 35. The outcome of the referendum was not recognized by the major opposition groups or by the international community, which pressed for Rajoelina to indicate the date of the new elections as soon as possible and to give up participating in them. The elections were held in 2013 in two rounds (September and December) and declared the victory of Hery Rajaonarimampianina, the candidate supported by Rajoelina who had held the position of finance minister in the previous government. The new president has again obtained IMF funds of 47 million dollars, as well as the EU announced, for the period 2014-20, aid for the reduction of poverty of 518 billion euros. The Malagasy economy, clumsily guided in recent decades by the development plans of the Wb and the IMF, has suffered from the internal political crisis and the global economic crisis: in 2009 there was a decrease in tourism by more than 50% and a contraction of the GDP by 4.7%. In 2010, another serious blow to the economy was inflicted by the termination of the free access agreements to the foreign market stipulated through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa). The revocation was due to the failure to comply with the requirements and this damaged the textile sector which, through the agreement, had managed to develop and export products to the US. The real, unfortunately inefficient, pillar of the national economy is agriculture (which includes fishing and forestry), which produces over a quarter of the national GDP and employs 80% of the population. Although many international interests are concentrated on the island, given the abundant fish and forest resources and the subsoil rich in oil, quartz, diamonds and gold, investments are scarce and Madagascar continues to be one of the 12 poorest countries in the world. Development suffers from inadequate infrastructure, vulnerability to frequent natural disasters and food dependence. About half of the Malagasy population lives on less than a dollar a day and 40% of families suffer from chronic malnutrition.
Demography and economic geography. – Island state in southern Africa, located in the Indian Ocean. With an Indian Ocean life expectancy of 64.7 years (2013), the population (23,571,962 residents, According to an estimate by UNDESA, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in 2014, of which 52% are under 19 years) grows by 2.8% a year. The urban one (34%) lives mainly in the capital, Antananarivo (2,487,000 residents), And Toamasina (310,000 residents). The literacy rate is 65%. With a GDP per capita with purchasing power parity (PPA) of $ 1429 (2014) and 77% of the residents in a state of poverty, Madagascar fell from 146th place in 2003 to 155th in 2014 as regards the human development. The economy, after the crisis of 2009, is growing slowly (GDP at + 1-3% in recent years) and only thanks to the export of raw materials (nickel and cobalt). Agriculture (75% of the workforce) and tourism periodically suffer the negative effects of disasters caused by cyclones and floods, but also by invasions of locusts, such as those of 2013-14.
History – According to BEHEALTHYBYTOMORROW, the democratization process started in 2002 with the inauguration of President Marc Ravalomanana failed to consolidate and underwent a progressive deterioration. Despite the re-election of Ravalomanana in 2006 and the victory of his TIM party (Tiako i Madagasikara, I love Madagascar) in the 2007 legislative elections, opposition to the government grew in intensity, fueled by the persistence of a difficult economic situation and by the accusations of authoritarianism generated by the approval of a constitutional reform that strengthened presidential powers (2007). In 2009 a new violent wave of protest shook the country, led by the mayor of Antananarivo Andry Rajoelina. The tension reached its peak in March 2009: Ravalomanana was forced to resign and resigned his powers to a military directorate that appointed Rajoelina interim president, with the mandate to call new elections within two years. Taking refuge in South Africa, Ravalomanana had the support of the international community, which did not recognize the legitimacy of the transition and suspended economic aid to the country. In November 2010, a constitutional provision was approved by referendum that lowered the minimum age to participate in the presidential elections to 35, so as to allow Rajoelina, then thirty-six, to stand as a candidate. However, the outcome of the referendum was not recognized either by the major opposition groups or by the international community, which pressed for Rajoelina to indicate the date of the new elections as soon as possible and to renounce to participate personally. The elections were finally held in 2013 and decreed the victory of Hery Rajaonarimampianina, the candidate supported by Rajoelina, took office in January 2014. After the elections, the African Union, which had suspended the country from the organization in 2009, allowed its reinstatement. Promoted by the Ecumenical Council of Christian Churches of Madagascar, in December 2014 a meeting was held between the president and the leaders of the opposition to encourage the process of national reconciliation.