After a period of political instability, Madagascar held credible, democratic elections in late 2013. Hery Rajaonarimampianina assumed the presidency of Madagascar on January 25, 2014 and a new government was established. After the US government removed all restrictions on cooperating with the government of Madagascar other donors also resumed direct relations with the government. Madagascar has once again been recognized as a member of the African Union and Southern African Development Community (SADC), and is eligible for the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA).
Madagascar’s political environment has remained volatile and since early 2014 three different prime ministers have been appointed. On April 11, 2016 President Rajaonarimampianina selected the Interior Minister, Olivier S. Mahafaly, as the new Prime Minister. A new government with 32 members was named on April 15, 2016. The country is hosting the sixteenth Francophonie summit from November 15 to November 20, 2016.
Madagascar is still struggling to stabilize the government and to implement economic reforms. President Rajaonarimampianina identified the national priorities as fighting against poverty, the development of infrastructure, education, and health, and building the energy sector. However, recent natural disasters (floods, locusts, and a drought in the south of the country), political instability, and continued high rates of extreme poverty are hampering recovery efforts.
Madagascar benefits significantly from development assistance. The United States is one of the largest bilateral donors to Madagascar, which is a priority country for the President’s Malaria Initiative, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), and biodiversity conservation. Approximately 150 Peace Corps volunteers serve in Madagascar.
Madagascar is one of the most environmentally exceptional places on Earth, with more endemic species than the whole of Africa. At least 80% of the plant and animal species found in Madagascar are unique to the island. It is also the poorest non-conflict country on Earth, with 92% of people living on less than $2/day.
Since 2013, Madagascar has been experiencing a prolonged and deepening drought in the south of the country. This crisis has left over one million people without enough food to eat. The United States is the largest donor of food assistance in Madagascar.
Last updated: January 10, 2017