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Madagascar – An Overview

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Madagascar’s most recent presidential elections took place in November 2018 and marked the first democratic handover of political power in the country’s history. Andry Rajoelina won 55.6% of the votes and became the President of the Republic of Madagascar, leading the country alongside his Prime Minister, Christian Ntsay, and 24 ministers.  The legislative elections held on May 27, 2019 delivered a massive victory to President Andry Rajoelina’s political party, which won 84 of the National Assembly’s 151 seats.  

The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly affected the country.  Madagascar closed its borders to outside visitors, turning off the tap on its important tourism sector, but not before the coronavirus gained a foothold in the country. The public health response has included lockdowns in a number of cities and regions, with consequences to the economy.  

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 2014, Madagascar has been experiencing a prolonged drought in the south of the country.  During more severe periods, 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. 

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