Political situation Turbulent years and slow change

In 2009, a coup d'état triggered a severe political crisis, plunging the country into international isolation for more than four years. Among other things, its membership of the African Union and of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) was suspended. The island state was politically, economically and developmentally paralysed – and that had some dramatic consequences for the population.

Policeman in Moramanga, Madagascar

Policeman in Moramanga, Madagascar

Policeman in Moramanga, Madagascar

In 2013, with assistance from international facilitators, Madagascar managed to resume a democratic course. Presidential and parliamentary elections were held with support from the United Nations. In 2018, a peaceful handover of power took place after internationally recognised elections. President Andry Rajoelina has presented ambitious reform and development plans. However, implementation has so far been very slow.

Government barely able to fulfil basic functions

The implementation of the development plans is hindered, among other things, by the extremely low level of financial resources available in the government budget. With a tax-to-GDP ratio of 10.5 per cent (2019), there is not enough revenue to finance urgently needed investments in the country's run-down infrastructure or in its education and health systems. In parts of the country, the state is unable to exercise its monopoly on force. In many areas, the government is not able to fulfil its basic functions vis-à-vis the people.

Improvements are needed in the areas of good governance and rule of law. One factor that is acting as a particular impediment to development is widespread corruption. In 2020, Madagascar ranked 149th out of 180 countries evaluated on the Corruption Perceptions Index of the non-governmental organisation Transparency International. A small political and economic elite reaps the profits from the country's wealth of natural resources and often stands in the way of fundamental reforms.

Civil society is not yet very developed in Madagascar. People have very few opportunities for critically monitoring government policies or for voicing their concerns in the political process. Generally, popular confidence in the state is low. In particular, the lack of prospects of a better future for young people (40 per cent of the people are below the age of 15) is causing discontent and presents a special challenge.