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 with a population of 24.89 million.
After a political crisis of more than 5 years (2009-2014), Madagascar is now in a process of political normalisation. Development challenges are huge as the social, economic and environmental situation remains worrisome. About 90% of the Malagasy population lives on less than US $2 per day.
Agriculture, including fishing and forestry, is the mainstay of the economy, accounting for more than one-fourth of GDP and employing roughly 80% of the population.
The EU's priorities in Madagascar are built on 4 pillars:
- Contributing to a stable political environment with better governance, less corruption and stronger institutions, especially after inclusive and transparent elections. EU engagement will focus on improving accountability, public policies and the role of civil society. These actions are supported by frequent political dialogue at all levels, including the presidential level.
- Reducing extreme poverty in the country through rural development with a particular focus on improving food security and nutrition and on improving infrastructure to enhance access to basic services. The level of socio-economic development in Madagascar is similar to a post-conflict country, even though it never experienced conflict.
- Inclusive economic growth and sustainable job creation, especially for women, by improving connectivity and access to energy, implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the development of value chains.
- Enhancing natural capital and strengthening climate resilience through direct actions and indirectly through poverty reduction. Madagascar is one of the 5 most vulnerable countries to climate change and one of the 25 global hotspots of biodiversity.
Under the current programming period (2014-2020), Madagascar was allocated €518 million under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) which is aligned to the government’s priorities around 3 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'
Madagascar also benefits from regional funding for infrastructure projects, a support programme for EPA implementation and continued support to the implementation of a sustainable regional fisheries economy.