Located in the South-western Indian Ocean, and separated from the African continent by the Mozambique Channel, Madagascar is the fourth biggest island in the world and accounts for 23.6 million inhabitants. It is ranked 154st out of 188 of the poorest countries in the world according to the 2015 UNDP Human Development Index. After a political crisis of more than five years (from 2009 to 2014), the constitutional order was restored in 2014, leading to the full normalisation of relations between the EU and Madagascar and the complete resumption of EU development cooperation.
After a political crisis of more than five years (2009-2014), Madagascar is now in a process of political normalisation. Development challenges are huge as social, economic and environmental situation remains worrisome. About 92% of the Malagasy population lives with less than US $2 per day. Although the authorities have managed to avert a macroeconomic collapse during the crisis, this has been done at the expenses of public investment and social expenditure that have been sharply compressed. This has negatively impacted the energy and transport infrastructure, the education and health systems, as well as underemployment, food insecurity and malnutrition that have been increasing. This situation is compounded by high vulnerability to natural hazards, such as locust attacks or climatic events (cyclones, droughts, floods) exacerbated by climate change. The index of good governance deteriorated with wide repercussions including on justice and Rule of law, as well as on the use of all natural resources (notably rosewood).
Between 2009 and 2014, cooperation between the EU and Madagascar were affected by the political events. The unconstitutional power shift resulted in the adoption in 2010 of appropriate measures by the European Council (based on article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement). This entailed the suspension of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Country Strategy Paper as well as all cooperation projects implemented through the Government.
Following the democratic elections held in October and December 2013, and the setting-up of key institutions (President, National Assembly and Government) in April 2014, the European Council lifted article 96 of Cotonou Agreement on 19 May 2014, thus allowing for the normalisation of the cooperation with the Government. This also allowed launching the programming of the 11th EDF (2014-2020).
The National Indicative Programme for Madagascar (NIP) for the period 2014-2020 under the 11th EDF was signed on 23 November 2015. With overall goal of poverty alleviation through the re-launching of sustainable and inclusive growth, it totals an amount of €518 million and is aligned to the Government's priorities around three focal sectors:
Governance and strengthening of public policy : ‘Strengthening the capacity of the State to consolidate economic development, stability and basic public services delivery'
Infrastructure in support to economic development– 'Reinforcing the infrastructure capital (roads, energy, water) to sustain economic development of areas with a strong potential'
Rural Development – ' Promoting a sustainable and competitive agricultural sector and strengthening the resilience of vulnerable people '
In 2014 and early 2015, pending the conclusion of the 11th EDF programming phase, the EU has adopted two decisions funded under the 11th EDF Bridging Facility aiming at building the capacity of the Malagasy government to meet short and medium-term challenges, and to help the government consolidate and improve democratic and economic governance. These measures cover three actions with the following respective objectives:
- consolidate public services in Madagascar through a "State Building Contract" (budget support provided in fragile situations) by helping the government with the most urgently needed expenditure (in the social sectors notably) while reviving the economy and restarting the major reforms needed for an efficient administration and good governance. This support covered the period 2014-2015.
- increase the effectiveness and integrity of the public administration and improve the quality of public services.
- build the capacity of the administration to perform the functions of national authorising officer (NAO) and ensuring that they are more effectively integrated into the national system in accordance with EDF procedures and mutual commitments.
The 10th EDF NIP for Madagascar for the period 2008-2013, with an initial allocation of €577 million, had identified transport infrastructure and rural development as priority sectors, in addition to macro-economic support. Following the adoption of the article 96 restrictions, allocations were reviewed downwards but the EU continued to implement projects and programmes directly benefitting the population, working through Non-Governmental Organisations, International Organisations and Member States cooperation agencies, precluding Government from managing and receiving EU funds. In total, the EU support to the population of Madagascar during the crisis amounted to €304 million.
This has enabled the EU to deliver in Madagascar the following achievements, among others:
Social sectors: For example, the EU has financed the salaries of contract teachers normally paid by the parents’ associations, and has financed school canteens benefitting 219 000 pupils and teachers in food-insecure areas, as well as school kits for 3 800 000 primary pupils during the 2013/2014 school year.
Agriculture/food security: EU's support aims at reducing food insecurity by enhancing food self-sufficiency and by increasing rural income. It is benefitting more than 100,000 households (representing +/- 600 000 people). The EU contributes also to the international response to the locust invasion.
Infrastructure rehabilitation: the EU's support targets the South East region and funds rehabilitation works of key national roads and connected feeder roads. The use of labour intensive methods allows injecting direct revenues to the populations (estimated 18 000 households). Given the vulnerability of the country to climate-related events, the EU's support is also addressing post-cyclonic reconstruction.
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): the EU is acting in the area of nutrition and in the field of water supply and sanitation: in 50 rural communities’ access rates to safe drinking water is expected to increase from 25% to 65% and to sanitation by 10%.
The EU also contributed to the 2013 presidential and legislative elections.
Madagascar continues to benefit from EU General Budget thematic programmes supporting Local Authorities and Non-State Actors, Food Security, Sugar Protocol, Gender, Democracy and Human Rights and Environment. A project on Climate Change adaptation (the GCCA+ initiative) was adopted in 2015 and an EU's country Roadmap for engagement with civil society in Madagascar (2014-2017) was prepared in July 2014.
Madagascar is also a beneficiary of regional projects aiming at the implementation of fisheries strategy and maritime security (SmartFish programme, MAritime SEcurity – MASE I) and at regional integration (Regional Integration Support Programme – RISP). It also benefits from several African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) multi-country cooperation: the EU Water Facility and the EU Energy Facility.
Madagascar is a member of several regional organisations: SADC (Southern Africa Development Community), COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa), IOC (Indian Ocean Commission), AU (African Union) and OIF (Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie).
The current protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Madagascar (2015-2018) was signed on 19 December 2014 and focuses on tuna species.
The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is present in Madagascar through relief operations (for example the ECHO-funded emergency response to recent floods that took place in Madagascar in 2015) and disaster risk reduction interventions (Disaster Preparedness ECHO programme – DIPECHO). The European Investment Bank is currently financing infrastructure projects in Madagascar.