Saturday, January 4, 2014

Happy 2014 Madagascar!

Dear Madagascar,
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a happy new year. May 2014 be healthy and prosperous. May it bring economic growth and a more wealth for the 92% of your population that currently live with 2 USD (!) a day or less. So that they can afford to buy shoes...

I also wish for you to attract new investors and foreign aid. With that, may you invest in your deteriorating infrastructure; roads, power and water projects which have suffered tremendously due to unrepaired damages from cyclones and severe budget cuts while there's been zero maintenance in the past four years.   (I am not counting the rugby stadium and the Coliseum music dome, I am referring to useful projects). 

May you then also invest in your ailing agricultural sector which has so much potential (rice, vanilla, dairy, horticulture, fruits) but suffers from drought, floods, and locusts infestations and a total incapability to buffer these threats. May you protect your incredible nature and biodiversity, stop deforestation, provide alternatives to charcoal, and invest in renewable energy sources. Oh and while your at it, ban the use of plastic bags. You were doing so well with your raffia baskets, but recently the country is as polluted as a garbage belt.

Madagascar, I wish you peace and wisdom. May your new leaders - whoever they will be in 2014 - be wise and honest. I wish your leaders integrity to combat the rampant corruption in key sectors like justice, police and forestry. I wish them commitment to a transparent use of public funds and to restore the private sector's faith so that it can create the much needed jobs. 

Madagascar, I wish you compassion and generosity to look after the mentally and physically handicapped, the homeless and the street children, and that nobody has to eat out of the garbage containers.

And lastly Mada, I wish you lots and lots of toilets and latrines, so that I (am I being selfish here?) don't have to watch your people relieving (and revealing!!) themselves in public.

Madagascar, the past four years have brought you nothing. You deserve progress!


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  1. Madagascar doesn't need foreign aid anymore.
    Foreign aid often leads to dependency, more bureaucracy and corruption among the aid recipient governments[officials and military].
    As Bill Easterly said "very little of the aid reaches the poor."
    It (foreign aid) is also bad for democracy. As Angus Deaton wrote "the government receives aid directly and aid flows are large relative to fiscal expenditure (often more than half the total). Such governments need no contract with their citizens, no parliament, and no tax-collection system. If they are accountable to anyone, it is to the donors...." (Ref: from the middle to the end of this article ).
    It becomes the government of the donors, by the donors, for the donors as Bill Easterly said.

    A Malagasy Reader!

  2. Thanks MR, I agree mostly with you and see the risks of dependency and unsustainable use of foreign aid. But the country is in such state that I 'm afraid that taxes won't be will also take some time to attract serious investors. Anyway,..the discussion is interesting and let's wait to see what will happen.

    1. The Malagasy military is the elephant in the room. In 2002 (12 years ago), there were more than 120 army generals on duty; for what? It's not like Madagascar is at war with another country.
      Do the math for their annual payrolls and benefits (cars, villas,...).
      The government should only offer crucial services (like health, education).

      A Malagasy Reader!