Madagascar News- Current Issues and Perspectives

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Extraits de News sur Madagascar – Economie – Vie Sociale- Politique – Environnement

In Culture, Economics, French, Pictures, Politics, Society on September 9, 2014 at 5:26 pm

De toute évidence, la question de l’environnement, préservation des cultures et de la flore et faune est un sujet intarissable mais aussi pointu à Madagascar.

Environmental issues take huge proportions in this biodiversity jewel. Addressed inadequately, they cascade down into social and economic disasters. Madagascar, if at all, is on a very long road to recovery. It will take changing the whole mentality and going back to its own sources. Will that ever happen?

Invasion de crickets à Tana


Comments on this article by by Jennifer S. Holland and on this other one are more than enough to make Madagascar realize that information is important. Comments can be outrageous.

And as a response yes, people, the common people DO care that there is an invasion with all that it implies. Lack of timeliness, and understanding of the importance of consistency in measures against crickets invasion, consistency being crucial due to the length of the biological cycle of the crickets, is deplorable. Efficacy and efficiency is sacrificed to “political” agendas and economic constraints. That being said, two or three serious issues remain: 1) The population at large is victimized and they DO care and are defenseless; 2) Information is not sufficient as people do not understand that environmental issues have contributed to make crickets unedible – Yes, some people eat crickets in Madagascar just as some people eat dog food in industrialized countries – 3) The economic situation has been critical for too long of a period: people worry about daily survival more than anything else. They lack the energy to think forward.

Trafic de Produits Rares, Semi-précieux et Précieux

Des engagements ont été pris par les autorités publiques, les forces de l’ordre, mais le trafic de bois de rose à Madagascar continue à subsister. Apparemment, il s’agit d’un véritable réseau que ni dirigeants ni forces de l’ordre n’arrivent plus à maitriser devant l’ampleur du  trafic.

Des responsables des forces de l’ordre affirment pourtant que des bateaux assurent le transport des cargaisons vers des destinations qui ne sont pas inconnues : des ports de l’Afrique,  et que la destination finale serait la Chine Continentale .   Nul n’est pourtant sans savoir que ces bois précieux  font  partie des ressources naturelles des aires protégées de la Grande île, mais les autorités semblent impuissantes devant ce trafic. Où en est la réglementation concernant la protection de ces richesses naturelles  à Madagascar ? L’association AVG (Alliance Voahary Gasy) s’est engagée pour éradiquer ce mal  jusqu’à même demander l’application de peines pénales. Encore faut-il que cette association puisse, à travers ses actions, mener à bout ses bonnes intentions.

Il n’est pas exclu de supposer qu’une corruption à grande échelle empêche l’éclaircissement de l’affaire. D’autant plus, le manque de mécanisme de pénalisations  serait un facteur d’échec d’une opération concrète pour une intervention efficace.

La mise en place d’une  juridiction spéciale deviendrait un impératif autrement ces exportations illicites vont continuer. C’est le mal de tous les pays sous développés, car ces exportations ne privilègent que quelques individus. Faut-il  instaurer des moyens plus légaux pour la vente de ce genre de produits ? ou aussi créer une industrie ? ou encore, ériger une loi internationale ? L’implication plus soutenue de la Convention sur le commerce international des espèces de faune et de flore sauvages menacées d’extinction (CITES) serait souhaitée.

Eliane Raeliarisoa, Consultante Juridique

Related to this article: Transformer le bois de rose localement

Panic and Ebola: Potential Threat in Madagascar with Frontiers Remaining Open

It could not fail: the latest worldwide concern is emerging in Madagascar: Ebola virus! The situation could become crucial if points of entries are not strictly observed. Apparently the Ministry of Health has taken some measures at Ivato, the international airport, following a suspicion of Ebola case from a citizen who left Liberia. The subject has tested negative, according to offical sources following tests at the Pasteur Institute.

Panic at Tamatave where a boat from Liberia, among other stopping points, had coasted, despite refusal from authorities. With frontiers remaining open in the absence of restrictive recommendations from the Indian Ocean Commission,  will the US$300,000 budget will be enough to prevent any potentially devastating contamination in this extremely vulnerable country?


Beautiful Pictures – Travel in Madagascar: strange wildlife and stunning landscapes

In Economics, Pictures, Politics, Society, Testimonies on March 19, 2013 at 10:18 pm

And sharing with you a fresh and different perspective from Rhett Butler

Travel in Madagascar: strange wildlife and stunning landscapes

Adansonia madagascariensis baobab  Female Malagasy Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone mutata)  Aye-aye feeding on a coconut Coquerel's sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)                Rhett Butler –

Diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema) An extraordinary article covering wildlife and related socio-political elements. Wonderful portfolio of pictures!


On a personal note, I was privileged enough to visit the Reserve of Berenty many years ago. The most amazing and wonderful sight was that of lemurs “flying” above me!

Happy Note on the Salegy and the writer of Tin Pan Alley Malagasy Music – Conservation International

In Culture, Freedom, French, Immigration/Emigration, Pictures, Society on December 31, 2012 at 12:32 am

And to close the year on a happy note, did you know that  Andriamanantena Paul Razafinkarefo, a  Malagasy royalty, better known as Andy Razafy was recognized by many as the ” the most influential black songwriter and lyricist of the 20th century.” He was admitted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972, year of the Malagasy “Revolution”. He wrote “hundreds of memorable songs including “Ain’t Misbehavin” and “Honeysuckle Rose.” …. Andy Razafy’s songs would be performed over the years by such musical greats as Bennie Goodman, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald”.

Malagasy Music – Conservation International.

And of course, Madagascar closes and starts the New Year with the Salegy that highlights the diversity of the Island Nation

and the famous and unavoidable traditional Afindrafindrao, 

…which is for the 7 to 77 years old!

Unsung Heroes of Madagascar: sacrificing freedom, safety and the country’s sovereignty?

In Economics, French, Human Rights, Pictures, Politics, Society, Testimonies on December 14, 2011 at 8:35 am

Many Malagasy people remember seeing Ratsiraka in front of a blackboard, making one of his memorable speeches, and demonstrating on the board how much rice Malagasies consume. That memorable evening, Malagasies learned, among other facts, that they were the biggest consumers of rice per capita in the world. According to the FAO, brown rice consumption was 140kg per capita, in 2000 . Amazing! Ten years later, local consumption had decreased by over 6%.

One has to be careful in one’s interpretation: Malagasy people do not eat less rice. Malagasies get to eat less. Indeed, according to IRIN ,  rice is no more readily affordable. Sadly enough this staple food has become a luxury in Madagascar.

Within the past two years, the price of rice has more than doubled reaching US$1 the kilogram. That is about the same amount that the US consumer who makes a minimum wage of $7.25 has to  pay for basic rice at Walmart. In Madagascar, the guaranteed minimum wage or salaire minimum interprofessionnel garanti  (SMIG) is is about 28 euros today, that is roughly US$ 37, which would translate into less than a quarter for an hour work (US$0.25), based on a 40h workweek. “Food accounts to 75% of a household’s budget“, according to  a monetization specialist for a US-based food company in Madagascar.

In January, Rajoelina had announced a 10% increase in salary for the public sector, reaching a 25% increase for those who make the SMIG. As for the private sector, a staggered 17% increase was agreed. Certainly an improvement but not enough to remedy the real problem: major loss of jobs, destroyed economy, changed mentality.

Madagascar has been living in a sociopolitical crisis for over two years now, leaving a crippled economy. From a growing and inventive economy under the UN Millenium project  it has become one of the poorest in the world.

Under his “Madagascar Naturellement” (Madagascar Naturally) program Ravalomanana had lined up an integrated guideline for World Bank, UNDP, EU and other bi-lateral aid and cooperation efforts. Today, the Millenium roadmap is forgotten in history. The textile industry had to shut down. The US market alone  provided about US$278 million of the textile revenue in 2008 . The Tiko Group, one of the most solid firms in Madagascar, has been destroyed, solely because it was Ravalomanana’s business. It was relevant in various sectors such agro-industry, construction and media and provided for thousands of jobs. The Tiko group  by itself provided 5,000 jobs and supported thousands more in other sectors.

Under Ratsiraka’s regime and his promise for a socialist revolution, the economy was relying on a vast government: government and army jobs, and  nationalization of the economy starting in the mid-70s when Ratsiraka came to power. Madagascar defense budget was reaching US$101 million in 1979, only four years into Ratsiraka’s leadership. Economic revolution was outlined in the Red Book. Today’s generation may not remember  the lines for basic needs such as rice, oil and meat or the massive government workers’ strike that started Ratsiraka’s downfall.

But Madagascar is forgiving. It would be more correct to say that Malagasy people sometimes have a short memory of repeated events that have periodically occurred throughout  its independence. So whether positive or negative, historical facts fade easily in Malagasy memories. May 1972 costed innocent lives, and over time it has been downplayed and forgotten. The aura and promises of the Millenium program as well as the fear lived under soviet-, Korean- and Kadafi-inspired Ratsiraka’s dictature alike have faded in conscious memories, aided by the political cultivation of traditional forgiveness through the notion of “fihavanana”(1).

Indeed, by essence, Madagascar is culturally peaceful. However, one has to understand the evolved Malagasy philosophy or culture that is such a mix of different ones, and that is tainted by Madagascar’s sociopolitical experiences. For example, the French saying “ventre affamé n’a pas d’oreilles” (literally a hungry stomach has no ears)  is widely used in Madagascar. If you are hungry, you loose all capacity of analysis and objectivity. By natural instinct, you will need to satisfy an immediate need, particularly if the need has been lasting for over two years. Should anybody offer you a solution or what appears to you as a solution to save your family, you will be more likely willing to grab that proposed solution. “More  likely” than not because in Malagasy there is a also a saying  that you could hear on a daily basis: “It is best to die tomorrow rather than today.”

So today, Ravalomanana shortcomings are kept very much alive in memory. The focus is kept on Ravalomanana business practices and the fact that the military opened fire on the crowd who crossed the presidential red line and killed twenty eight protesters in February of 2009. Much controversy remains about that crossing line event that was viewed by some observers as a  Rajoelina scheme to take over power.

Today also, Ratsiraka is welcomed with open arms and it has been, consciously or conveniently, forgotten that under Ratsiraka’s astounding videorecorded order  the Presidential Guard opened fire on 400,000 peaceful protesters. It has been equally forgotten that Ratsiraka’s lawyer had admitted that the court ruling of 10 years of hard labor against him for embezzlement of US$ 8 millions of public funds  ” seems (ed) fair enough.” Ratsiraka for his part never admitted any wrongdoing, to this day.

Forgotten in history are the students who fell under the military gunshots in 1972 when Tsiranana made the terrible political, broadcast mistake of ordering the killing of “10, 100, 1000” student-led protesters. Forgotten in memories are those unsung heroes who struggled and lost their sense of being during food shortages under the Ratsiraka Socialist experiment. Erased in history are those who lost their lives.  Lost in time are those who have perished in one way or another whether under pursuits and gunshots or through moral decadence for survival, since Rajoelina has been in power. To those  little, unsung heroes of Madagascar, to those who can barely afford rice amid the political,  unchanged allegiances one has to strive for objectivity. While Ratsiraka flew back to France, Rajoelina is back from France with a cooperation agreement of 10 millions of euros and Sarkozy’s promises of lobbying to the European Union and the US government for sanction relief. The same day at  its December 8th meeting in Addis Abeba, the Peace and Security Council announced its intention to lift Madagascar sanctions  based on progress made toward the roadmap to lawful State. According to local medias, the USA will advance US$8 millions and the European Union 100millions of euros to alleviate the situation.  The people of Madagascar need to be able to afford their daily rice, and while bending seems necessary to all involved parties at all levels of this peace seeking solution, one hopes that it would not  be at the high price of the Malagasy people’s freedom, prized culture  and safety.

Testimonies – Témoignages

In Freedom, French, Pictures, Society, Terror, Testimonies, Timeline on April 24, 2009 at 7:43 am
April 23, 2009 : “les militaires tirent sur des civils, le Gt HAT emp^che les meeting et ils poursuivent les gens 7:55 AM
9 tués par balle dont deux jeunes écolières de moins de 12 ans. C’est le bilan provisoire des tirs sans sommation de l’Emonat du coté d’Ambohijatovo.       Le riposte de la population tananarivienne ne s’est pas fait attendre: d’anosibe à ambanidia…des voitures de la HAT ont été incendié…Des membres de l’émonat ont pris la fuite….Aucune voiture de la HAT n’est plus autoriser à circuler à Tana ville sous peine de subir la justice populaire…  Demain, les anti-puchistes se donnent rendez-vous à Ambohijatovo…Appel a été lancé à tout militaire, gendarme et policier de ne plus etre en tenue dans la rue ” – Victoire
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