What is the current political and economic situation in Madagascar?
The European Union is a key partner to Madagascar and is committed supports its efforts in reaching its potential and overcoming the challenges it faces, such as poverty, instability and poor governance. Being the fourth biggest island in the world the country counts more than 23 million people. Half of its population are under 20 years old, 80% are living on less than USD 1.2 per day, and two-thirds have no access to education or electricity.
Its economy was weakened by a prolonged political crisis between 2009 and 2014. Presidential and legislative elections of December 2013 ended five years of transition and marked the return of Madagascar to constitutional order. These elections allowed for the lifting of Article 96 appropriate measures under the Cotonou Agreement, which in turn led to the resumption of full EU cooperation in May 2014.
The visit of Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, to Madagascar aims at confirming the EU continuing support. It takes place one year after the signing of the 11th National Indicative Programme (NIP).
What is the current state of play of EU cooperation with Madagascar?
The National Indicative Programme (NIP) is mobilising €518 million under the 11th European Development Fund for 2014-2020 to support Madagascar in its efforts of reducing poverty, by facilitating inclusive and sustainable growth.
The programme focuses on three sectors: Governance and strengthening of public policies (€145 million); Infrastructures in support to economic development (€230 million); Rural development (€130 million). €8 million have also been earmarked to continue supporting the civil society, and €5 million for supporting measures including the functions of the National Authorising Officer.
Actions will target three regions identified because of their important development potential and their proximity to a harbour with a regional dimension, as well as because of their development challenges. The regions are North and Diego Suarez, Centre Antananarivo-Tamatave, South and Fort-Dauphin.
49% of the 518 MEUR have already been committed. Several projects are under preparation, particularly in the rural development sector that should bring this rate to 73% by mid-2017.
The envelope under the 11th European Development Fund comes in addition to the €300 million projects from the 10th European Development Fund, most of which are still being implemented.
What are examples of the EU's development cooperation with Madagascar and what positive effects have been achieved so far?
1) Under the 11th European Development Fund, a €156 million contribution has been made to the Africa Investment Facility to implement road, energy and water infrastructure projects, with blending grants and loans from Financing Institutions.
- Roads: The "Rocade Tana" was recently finalised, together with the European Investment Bank and the Agence Française pour le Développement (AFD) as financing institutions. This project aims at building 8 km of the ring road of the Malagasy capital, for an expected traffic of 25,000 vehicles/day as of 2019. It will facilitate access to the capital, divert transit traffic and thereby relieve congestion in the streets.
- Water and sanitation: A second project aiming at improving sanitation in Tana and fighting floods in the capital area (with AFD as co-financing institution) has recently been approved. A comprehensive water and sanitation Master plan of the capital region will be established and key rehabilitation works in wastewater and drainage networks will be carried out.
2) Under 10th European Development Fund, infrastructures have also been supported by the EU.
Roads : the rehabilitation of 1000 km of key national roads and of 300 km of connected feeder roads along the Western and the South Eastern coasts was ensured. Whenever possible, labour intensive methods have been implemented to provide work to a maximum of Malagasy people (rather than using machine power); it has already allowed injecting direct revenues to estimated 10,000 households and 8,000 should be added to the scheme by the end of the programme.
Railway: As part of emergency work on infrastructures following weather damages, a major railway viaduct in Sahesenaka was prevented from collapsing. This viaduct is the only way to connect 300,000 people on the Eastern Coast to the city Fianarantsoa.
Several renewable energy production projects were also supported allowing more than 10,000 households to get access to a reliable renewable source of energy.
1) Under 11th European Development Fund, €76.5 million have been disbursed in 2014-2015 to support the State budget immediately after the end of the political transition, which helped maintaining a certain level of basic service delivery in the fields of health and education.
2) Under 10th European Development Fund, the EU has supported the social sector in nine of the 22 regions of the country which represent 43% of the total population. This support has allowed:
- the reopening and functioning of 73 Basic Health Centres with the recruitment of 88 physicians and 473 paramedics, the upgrading of 831 centres through the provision of medical equipment and equipment to improve the quality of services offered to the population,
- The return to primary school of 3,800,000 children in 2013-2014 with school kits and food provided to them.
Under the 10th European Development Fund and the Sugar Protocol, 19.000 HA perimeter in the North of Madagascar were rehabilitated. Thanks to this action, 85% of the 300km irrigation system is now functioning against 50% at the beginning of the action. This progress creates significant opportunities for the 6.000 small sugar cane and rice producers among which 1.750 women. The rice production has tripled.
In the South, the project AINA has allowed to increase agricultural productivity and production with new practices and seeds adapted to difficult local and climatic conditions, and improvement of storage. The project included also awareness actions about good practices in nutrition, sanitation and hygiene. AINA has helped improving nutrition and hygiene practices of 33.500 pregnant or lactating mothers and of 94.000 children below 5 years old (51% and 83% of the respective targets).
Support to civil society
Under the 10th European Development Fund, the EU is supporting the Malagasy civil society through the DINIKA programme (€10 million), which runs from 2012 until 2017 and aims at promoting good governance at local and national levels.
Under this framework, several projects have been initiated to help for example mothers and disabled people to work locally in good conditions. The programme has funded to date 117 grants to civil society. Furthermore, civil society organisations are supported in their "watch dog" role, which means that they take part in public debates regarding the national and municipal budgets, natural resources, human rights, and social rights, all important matters to fight corruption and to promote the rights of the citizens.