It’s been a three years since I am back in my home country Madagascar, and a year (still counting) of political crisis on the headline of the mainstream media. Uncertainty remains the key word in every part of the country when the discussions come about the future of our beloved Island.
My decision to go back to Madagascar was sudden. I was inspired by the story of a successful Ghanaian entrepreneur Herman Chinery-Hesse at TED Global Africa 2007 saying: “…It is not dignified for an African to live their whole lives overseas”… Mr Hesse is actually the owner of SoftTribe, the leading computer technology company in West Africa and the BBC has described Him as Africa's "Bill Gates".
Blogging is my passion. I discovered blogs during my studies at University in France. One of my professors at that time was one of the most influential French bloggers and doing amazing work in the field of language technology. My grandfather, on the other hand, used to write the details of his daily life in Madagascar since 1930 in a many tomes of diaries conserved nicely by my mom in our family bookcase.
I started my blog by writing about generalities, things I like and places I have visited. Most recently, I travelled to Gabon as a WEB 2.0 media consultant in advance of presidential elections where I provided commentaries and photos for International news channel as citizen journalist…
In 2005, I spent a couple weeks in New York for holiday. That was, two weeks before the 2005 UN Summit, which led to the Millennium Declaration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and I had the chance to visit the UN Headquarter on the East side of Manhattan. Here is a "stylish tourist" picture of me front of the Non violence, Sculpture of Karl fredrick Reutersward at that time.
Representatives (including many leaders) of the 191 (now 192) member states met in New York City for what the United Nations described as "a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take bold decisions in the areas of development, security, human rights and reform of the United Nations. " The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight international development goals that all 192 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015. They include reducing extreme poverty, reducing child mortality rates, fighting disease epidemics such as AIDS, and developing a global partnership for development… “.
Since that day, I am wearing my white band bracelet with the inscription “ Voice against poverty - No excuse 2015” distributed at the entrance of the General Assembly Public Lobby.
Nevertheless, as I write about Madagascar issues on my blog, I knew that I needed to do more than type to improve the standard of living and biodiversity conservation in Madagascar. My idea is to bring real solutions from the online community to people at the bottom of the pyramids who don’t have access to this information.
I am not inventing new technology that revolutionizes the world, all I do is put together Malagasy ideas and world ideas including old and new for a cause of common concern and work together on the infinite possibilities.
Within three years I have initiated projects that contributed to United Nation Billion Tree Campaign, I have contributed in an existing NGO working in Conservation of Madagascar Biodiversity that manage big scales of primary forest, I co-founded an environmental organization that aims to restore the cleared space between forest fragments of virgin forest that still exists and a company that aims to make Madagascar the world food basket & medicine cabinet.
All these projects are real and firstly based in reducing extreme poverty and ensuring environmental sustainability altogether through dialogue that complies with national and international policies and inspired by the United Nations Millennium Development Goal :
- Goal #1: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Goal #7: ensure environmental sustainability
It’s not always easy to deal with the situation from the field. How realistic are these goals in a real world ?
Most operators are in a “wait and see” mood because of the general uncertainty in the economic and political environment in Madagascar, expert says. It is well recognized by the economic literature that private investors and donors are reluctant to take decisions in an unstable context, postponing projects or, when possible, moving them abroad.
Madagascar is facing different sanctions from the International community. Everyone in the country and in the international community wants to see an end to the crisis.
The question the international community should be asking is: Do the political leaders in Madagascar, in sum, really represent the people of Madagascar?
What I see is sanctions against Malagasy people who are deeply affected by the international community decision which has brought the economy and governance structures to a halt – by suspending Madagascar from regional bodies such as the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and major donors like the US and Norway have ceased non-humanitarian aid, in disengagement efforts.
Madagascar is heavily dependent on donor funding for its administration. The growing political isolation of the island state, and the decision of some donors to suspend non-humanitarian aid, is likely to even further affect the Government's capacity to respond to the needs of its population. As an immediate consequence of the crisis, over US$ 200 million in Official Development Aid (ODA) has already been frozen, including all direct budget support to the Government – severely curtailing the Government’s capacity to meet the needs of the population.
Due to the continued focus by the de facto regime leaders on personal interests and their political future, the Malagasy people continue to suffer on the economic front as well.
Ordinary Malagasy are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the political infighting. The majority of the population live on less than US$ 1 a day, and rising food prices and depleted incomes have undermined the ability of most households to access food, water, sanitation and other social services.
The international community has indicated that efforts will continue towards developing and supporting a process that leads to an early return of constitutional government in Madagascar, but has said that continued unilateral action and failure to find a mutually acceptable way forward could draw sanctions. Furthermore, because of the failure to develop a consensual process for the return of Madagascar to constitutional rule, the US has been forced to terminate the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) programme in Madagascar and to suspend Madagascar’s participation in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
More recently, the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly asked the European Commission to help EU and ACP banana producers adapt to the new EU-Latin America trade agreement, which is expected to put an end to fifteen years of "banana wars" between the two continents, but has raised concerns for the livelihood of some regions' producers. Again, the members also called for stronger sanctions against Madagascar… Banana wars!
The good news is that we will have more bananas to eat and stop hunger temporarily ... We can look at it as an opportunity to end extreme poverty ... !!
The MDG’s deadline plus the political situations in Madagascar unveil in many of malagasy citizens the sense of Patriotism and dignity and every one of us express it in a different manner ... "No matter how long and dark the night, the day is sure to come"
TO DO : Goal#8 : Develop a global partnership for development…