Economic and Social Developments of Madagascar
By: Chad Stephens
October 5, 2010
Globalization is defined as the “increasing interconnectedness of people and places.” The general assumption by people who are unfamiliar with globalization and its processes is that when less developed countries, such as Madagascar, are affected by globalization, the country reaps from the benefits of the new ideas, policies, programs, and beliefs. Although many of the previously stated things have positively affected Madagascar, the economic and social developments that are seen in Madagascar today show that much still needs to be done to help the struggling country. Body
To understand where Madagascar is headed as a country, it’s important to first know what Madagascar has had to go through to get to where it is now. Madagascar is an African nation located off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. A major source of the problems that Madagascar is facing is due to the relatively short amount of time in which it has been an independent nation. Madagascar is a former French colony, gaining its independence from the French on June 26, 1960 (Neoliberalising).
The way in which Madagascar can build a strong, efficient infrastructure is by learning from globalization. Most of Sub-Saharan Africa is consider less developed countries as well, so the infrastructure and support that Madagascar receives is coming from Europe, Asia, or the United States (Neoliberalising). The relationship shared between the French and Madagascar continued long after Madagascar secured their independence until Marc Ravalomanana was elected President in 2002. Ravalomanana was quick to make changes as he made it clear that he was interested in turning towards the English-speaking world, especially the US and South Africa as a source of economic and political support. Furthermore, his election promises included a commitment to greater economic liberalization; this constitutes a significant break with past presidents who had a closer relationship with France and followed more state-centric economic policies” (Neoliberalising). The effects of globalization on Madagascar become even clearer when you see what the country is doing to boost its economy.
President Ravalomanana had presented many different alternatives and concepts that were considered foreign to Madagascar to help boost the poor nation’s economy. An original plan that would help put Madagascar on the map, as well as bring much need money into Madagascar was ecological tourism. Following such initiatives as the Caribbean, South Africa, and other countries, Madagascar wanted to attract tourists to the country to help boost its economy. Ecological tourism, or ecotourism, has been identified as a “critical sector” for Madagascar. Madagascar is home too numerous beautiful ecological destinations. The wildlife-based ecotourism includes the national parks, reserves, beaches, and marine-based tourism such as whale watching and scuba diving. The government hopes the industry provides enough economic stimuli to help strengthen many problems within the country (Neoliberalising). Clement Ravalisoana, President of the Professional Association of Tour Operators in Madagascar, has stated that his organization has gone across the world to international trade fairs to raise the awareness of Madagascar’s newfound ecotourism market. Ravalisonana intends to make Madagascar’s main targets Europe, particularly Germany, the UK, and France, and small portions of North America and Japan (Neoliberalising). The effects of globalization have practically created a new industry in which a whole country is beginning to thrive off. Starting in 1990, Madagascar’s visitor arrivals increased by over 200% by the year 2000. Madagascar had 53,000 visitors in 1990 and had reached 160,000 visitors by 2000. Furthermore, the World Tourism Organization has identified Madagascar as one of the world's...
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