Madagascar is classed as the fourth poorest country in the world, with 92% of the population living in poverty and 60% living in extreme poverty.
A crucial reason for the continuing poverty is that Madagascar only came out of a five-year political crisis in 2013. The current president was forced to step down in 2009 following a military coup that resulted in all foreign assistance being cut. Madagascar was once again recognised as a state in 2013 when democracy returned to the country and Hery Rajaonarimampianina was installed as president.
82% of Madagascar’s population live in rural areas and depend on farming, animal husbandry and fishery. Madagascar’s population is grow at 3% per year, which means there is a need to increase food production. Most farmers use traditional farming methods which give small yields and require much work. Most farmers farm on a small scale due to insecure land tenure and this again affects yields. Food insecurity results in a search for new cultivation opportunities in areas that were previously forest. This is placing Madagascar’s natural resources under great pressure, threatening the unique nature of the country. This solution is not sustainable.
In rural areas, people are cut off from vital information and deprived of their rights. Only 14.3% of the population has access to electricity, 52%, or 12 million people, do not have access to clean drinking water and around 40% of the annual state budget ends up in the wrong hands due to corruption. Corruption is a major problem in Madagascar.
Gender inequality also results in persistent poverty. Women are viewed as subordinate to men, 55% of women are exposed to gender-based violence and women are unable to own, inherit or participate in decision-making processes on an equal footing with men.
Finally, Madagascar is exposed to tropical storms and cyclones on a yearly basis, causing floods, population displacement and the destruction of harvests. Huge parts of Madagascar consequently face food insecurity on an annual basis.