Madagascar in News: Because of High Poverty and Awful Suffering of People

  Madagascar now-a-days is in the news because people have been awfully suffering as many of them were eating boiled tamarind due to lack of food.  Let me highlight a few lines about Madagascar. Madagascar, officially known as, the Republic of Madagascar is spared over an area of 592,800 square kilometres is the world’s 47th largest country inhabited by a total number of 26,262,313 persons in 2018 against 4,084,000in 1950. And the current population of Madagascar is 28,073,781 as on 17January 2021, based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data. The population density in Madagascar is 48 persons per square kilometre. Only 38.5 percent of the population lives in urban areas indicating a high percentage of population lives in rural areas. The median age in Madagascar is 19.6 years. The median age in India is 28.4 years, compared to 37 years for China and 48 years for Japan. The latest WHO data reveals that the life expectancy in Madagascar is 65.1 years for males and 68.2 for females, making the average life expectancy 66.6 years. Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world, after Greenland, New Guinea, and Borneo. It became a French colony on 6 August 1896 and on 26 June, 1960 the country became an independent one and Philibert Tsiranana was its first president.    Prior to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, Madagascar was on an upward growth path even then around 75 percent of the population was estimated to live below the international poverty line of $1.90in 2019 which undoubtedly is very high. Because of COVID-19, the economic, social, and fiscal impact is very substantial in 2020. Global trade and travel disruptions as well as domestic containment measures are expected to result in a sharp deceleration in economic activity in 2020, with gross domestic product (GDP) growth predicted as only 1.2 percent. Also study reveals that vulnerable populations in urban areas are particularly exposed to economic hardship and poverty because of COVID-19.  Madagascar has the world’s fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition, with almost one child in two under five years of age suffering from stunting and children dropped out of primary school was high in recent years. Moreover, only 13 percent of people had electricity connection.  In the context of Gross Domestic Product (GDP),Per Capita GDP, Gross National Income (GNI, formerly called Gross National Product/GNP), GNI per capita (formerly GNP per capita), I wish to throw some lights based on World Bank data. GDP per capita is gross domestic product divided by midyear population. GDP is the sum of gross value added by all resident producers in the economy plus any product taxes and minus any subsidies not included in the value of the products. It is calculated without making deductions for depreciation of fabricated assets or for depletion and degradation of natural resources. GDP per capita (current US$) Madagascar for 2019 was 522 and the same for India for 2019 was 2,099. And in case of GNI per capita (formerly GNP per capita) is the gross national income, converted to U.S. dollars using the World Bank Atlas method, divided by the midyear population. GNI is the sum of value added by all resident producers plus any product taxes (less subsidies) not included in the valuation of output plus net receipts of primary income (compensation of employees and property income) from abroad. GNI, calculated in national currency, is usually converted to U.S. dollars at official exchange rates for comparisons across economies, although an alternative rate is used when the official exchange rate is judged to diverge by an exceptionally large margin from the rate actually applied in international transactions. To smooth fluctuations in prices and exchange rates, a special Atlas method of conversion is used by the World Bank. This applies a conversion factor that averages the exchange rate for a given year and the two preceding years, adjusted for differences in rates of inflation between the country, and through 2000, the G-5 countries (France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States). From 2001, these countries include the Euro area, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. GNI per capita, PPP (current international $) in Madagascar was 1,660 (2019) and the same for India was 6,920 (2019). It is evident that Madagascar is a poor country and in Nurkse’s words: “A country is poor, because it is poor.” Or “Because it is poor, the country does not develop; because it does not develop, it remains poor.”

The following websites have been consulted while writing the article:


Dr Shankar Chatterjee, Hyderabad

Categories: News