As the economic crisis continue to worsen, both US presidential candidates, European leaders and heads of international organizations predict that international aid will have to be reduced. Developing countries like Madagascar which are still relying heavily on international aid fear that such reduction will severely hinder the progress made in social development and reduction of extreme poverty.
So will the economic crisis affect Madagascar and how ? Madagascan explains (fr) :
En conclusion, oui, Madagascar sera inÃ©vitablement impactÃ©e par la crise internationale actuelle. D'une part parce qu'il est prÃ©visible que les Etats resserrent leurs aides aux pays pauvres, d'autre part parce que les grands projets actuels dans le pays auront probablement des problÃ¨mes de capacitÃ© d'investissement trÃ¨s rapidement, et enfin parce qu'une source importante de richesse du pays, le tourisme, sera fatalement affectÃ©
In conclusion, yes, Madagascar will inevitably be affected by the current global crisis. Firstly, because of the reduced aid to developing countries. Secondly, because many of the current large mining projects will suffer from a shortage of investors and finally because the other source of wealth of the country, tourism, will certainly be affected.
Randy do it, a national Malagasy journalist and blogger, provides a “how the marketplace works for beginners” by using an analogy that involves a fictional rural market place trading monkeys (fr):
DÃ¨s lors quâ€™il a le dos tournÃ©, son assistant rassemble les villageois et leur indique les cages, avec les milliers de singes que leur a achetÃ©s son patron “Si vous le voulez, leur dit-il, moi, je vous cÃ¨de ces singes Ã 35 dollars lâ€™unitÃ©. Ainsi, lorsque mon patron reviendra, vous pourrez les lui revendre Ã 50 dollars. Â» Les villageois, aveuglÃ©s par la perspective de cet enrichissement facile, sortent toutes leurs Ã©conomies, vendent leurs biens pour racheter les singes. Le magot encaissÃ©, lâ€™assistant disparaÃ®t dans la nuit. On ne le verra plus. Ni lui, ni son patron. Dans le village, rien que des singes, courant dans tous les sens. Et Nadim Kalife de conclure son histoire par un Ã©difiant : Â« Bienvenue dans le monde de la Bourse ! Â» Eh, oui ! Il y a quelque chose dâ€™aventureux Ã vendre un singe Ã dix dollars, puis Ã le racheter Ã 35 dollars, en espÃ©rant le vendre une seconde fois Ã 50 dollars.
As soon as the boss turns his back, his assistant gathers the villagers and points to the cages with the thousands of monkeys his boss just purchased. “If you want,” he tells them, “I will sell those monkeys to you for $35 a piece. When, my boss returns, you can sell them to him for $50.” The villagers, blinded by the prospect of easy money, dive into their savings and sell all their possessions to buy the monkeys back. Once the money was collected, the assistant vanished into the night. He was never seen again. Not him, and not his boss. In the village, there is nothing but monkeys running everywhere. And Nadim Kalife to conclude his story: “welcome to the global marketplace!” Clearly, there is something risky about selling a monkey for $10, buying them back for $35 and trying to resell them at $50.
Finally, Moonlight girl, new blogger from Antanarivo, tells a sobering story of the consequence of extreme poverty and how it affect health care for many in Madagascar. She recalls a recent encounter in a bus in Antananarivo:
She started to cry and tell me that she just gave birth 2 days ago at a famous public hospital. She was poor and didnâ€™t have the money to buy medicine for the baby who suddenly became sick. At this hospital, if you canâ€™t buy the medicines you need, it means youâ€™re waiting for death. They donâ€™t care about the personâ€™s situation. So her baby died, and this woman didnâ€™t have money to take him back home. She lived at Ambatofotsy , which is very far from town. Taking a taxi to those places , will cost a fortune. Now, sheâ€™s going to her sisterâ€™s house at Ambohipo; to take her child. I was heartbroken and terrified at the same time, thinking about this woman carrying her dead baby around. The driverâ€™s aid, was very angry and started to yell at the woman, and forced her out the bus. He said, that she did something very taboo, about letting a dead be among the living. The poor woman just left the bus, not wanting to cause anymore trouble.
[Cross-posted on Global Voices Online]