What is the strategic importance of Madagascar

Madagascar Natural paradise in a difficult location

Madagascar is the largest island nation in Africa and the fourth largest island in the world. Due to its isolated location in the Indian Ocean, a particularly diverse flora and fauna has developed on the island. Numerous species are endemic, so they only occur in Madagascar - and many are still undiscovered. But the natural paradise has already been largely destroyed by human interference. The island was originally almost completely forested, but now only a fraction of the rainforest has been preserved.

Decades of mismanagement and poor governance have pushed Madagascar to the brink of ruin. Today the state is one of the least developed countries in the world. At around US $ 500 a year, the annual gross national income per capita is well below the average for the other African countries south of the Sahara. More than three quarters of the population live in extreme poverty.

The situation is exacerbated by the effects of climate change. Time and again, destructive cyclones sweep across the country, which regularly claim many human lives and cause immense damage. The recurring drought phases are intensified by the El NiƱo climatic phenomenon. There are regular crop failures, especially in the south of the island. In the spring of 2017, the food supply of 1.4 million people was threatened.

Putsch and return to democracy

In 2009 a coup plunged Madagascar into a serious political crisis. The country was internationally isolated for more than four years, including membership in the African Union and in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The island state was paralyzed politically, economically, socially and also in terms of development - with sometimes dramatic consequences for the population.

In 2013 Madagascar managed to return to a democratic course with the help of international mediators. Presidential and parliamentary elections were held with the support of the United Nations. President Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who has been in office since January 2014, has repeatedly expressed his will to reform, but the process has repeatedly come to a standstill.

At an international donor conference in Paris in December 2016, the country was pledged support amounting to 6.4 billion US dollars for the years 2017 to 2020.

Development cooperation

The Federal Republic of Germany - like the European Union and all EU member states - stopped development cooperation with Madagascar at government level after the coup in March 2009. Until the return to democratic conditions, the cooperation was limited to the continuation of non-governmental projects that supported the population as directly as possible.

After the elections, the EU lifted the restrictions in early 2014 and paved the way for cooperation with the new government. As a result, Germany also resumed and expanded bilateral development cooperation.

The focus of the cooperation is on the protection of the environment and resources. Important fields of work are the use of renewable energies as well as agricultural development and adaptation to climate change. In addition, there is the commitment within the framework of the special initiative "ONE WORLD without hunger".