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Madagascar Essay

1939 words - 8 pages

Ranked number 68 on the Failed State Index of 2010 and 135 on the Human Development Index out of 169 countries and areas, Madagascar is considered to be at a low human development level. ( 2,4) Madagascar’s development situation is the product of a history of corrupt government and neocolonialism. Madagascar has been labeled a “developing” country because of its current conditions.
Over the past few decades, Madagascar’s life expectancy at birth and expected years of school have both been rising, but Gross national income (GNI) per capita has been falling. (3) Madagascar’s Economic situation is that of a developing nation with opportunity. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita was at $958 in 2008 with 67.83% of the population living below $1.25 per day. (4) The total GDP in 2010 was $20.73 billion, with a growth rate of 1.5%. (1) Madagascar has a population of 21,926,221 (July 2011 est.) and the distribution of wealth is significantly divided. The lowest 10% of the country receives only 2.6% of the income, while the highest 10% earns 41.5%. (1) The remaining percentage of income is believed to be in the hands of the top 20% of the population. This large division in income distribution is a key reason for the country being listed as developing. Madagascar has many industries including: meat processing, seafood, soap, breweries, tanneries, sugar, textiles, glassware, cement, automobile assembly plant, paper, petroleum and tourism. (1) Agriculture accounts for more than one-fourth of the GDP and employs 80% of Madagascar’s population. However, deforestation has led to erosion which has fueled serious concerns over well being of agriculture industries. A 50% drop in the tourist industry along with political turmoil has caused Madagascar’s GDP to drop over the past two decades. (1)
Madagascar was home to socialist economic policies and single-party rule up until the mid 1990s. Free elections took place for the first time in 17 years during the 1992-93 National Assembly elections. In 1997 Didier Ratsiraka, whom led Madagascar during the 70s and 80s, was elected president. The 2001 presidential election nearly caused a secession of half the country, due to the hostility between the followers of incumbent Ratsiraka and his contester Marc Ravalomanana, whom was declared the victor. This first crisis caused a 12% drop in GDP for 2002. Ravalomanana achieved a second term, and in 2009 protests over restrictions on opposition press and activities led to him stepping down. Since the start of the current political crisis, the World Bank and IMF-led policy of privatization and liberalization has been undermined and the economic situation in Madagascar has gotten worse. The situation has caused investors to be cautious about investing in such an environment. (1) The political and economic turmoil has taken its toll on the citizens of Madagascar.
Madagascar’s social developmental situation is synonymous with the country’s human security and development...

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