Madagascar’s manufacturing industry is relatively small and employs just under 7 percent of the workforce. In the factories, food, clothing and textiles are mainly manufactured, both for export and for the domestic market.
Most industries are located in the high plateau in central Madagascar or in the area around the port city of Toamasina, where there is, among other things, an oil refinery. Other important industrial products are beer, cigarettes, paper, soap, cement and artificial fertilizers. In recent years, Madagascar has invested in IT development.
Many of the goods, especially clothing and textiles, are produced in so-called economic free trade zones (see Economic overview) where the owners pay low taxes and low wages to the employees.
An important driver of the Malagasy industry is the US AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act) agreement, which provides about 40 sub-Saharan trade benefits in the US market in exchange for being able to exhibit a certain level of development in a number of areas.
It was a severe blow to the textile industry in particular when Madagascar was excluded from AGOA 2010 as a result of the coup in March 2009. At that time, about half of export earnings and a quarter of all regular employment in the industry were estimated to be dependent on the US agreement. Several factories were forced to close and many industrial workers lost their jobs. In June 2014, Madagascar re-entered AGOA after a new president-elect had taken office. Nowadays, the clothing and textile industry accounts for about one fifth of the country’s total export revenue.
- COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Madagascar. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.
The development of the industrial sector is hampered by the country’s lack of infrastructure and high transport costs. Extensive bureaucracy and corruption also pose problems.
Scandal when prisoner flees
A French security adviser to the president manages to escape from the prison in Madagascar where he faces a three-year sentence for corruption and abuse of power. The public is upset when the adviser claims that the escape was made possible by bribing the Malagasy Minister of Justice.
The plague epidemic is sinking
The plague epidemic has cumulated and is declining. It harvests 207 lives and nearly 2,400 cases of the plague have been documented. Madagascar suffers from plague outbreaks almost every year during the warm rainy season between September and April. Usually between 300 and 600 cases of the plague are registered per season. It is unusual to have a rapid spread within the larger cities, usually rural residents.
Unusually large outbreak of plague
At the end of the month, nearly 130 people died in the plague epidemic.
The plague is spread to the cities
In the autumn, plague spreads along the coast as well as in Antananarivo and Toamasina. When more than 30 people have died in the disease, the government bans people from public plastics in an attempt to limit the spread of infection. A ban on visits is imposed on overcrowded prisons, which have proven to be infectious agents. The universities in both cities are temporarily closed for remediation.
The government is weakening
Ravalomanana’s party Tim is withdrawing its support for the government after a Tim minister was dismissed. The President thus leads a minority government with limited opportunities to enforce important laws in Parliament.