Off the east coast of Africa, Madagascar is the fourth-largest island in the world, with a surface area of 587,000 km². Despite its natural resources, the country remains one of the least developed on the planet. Poverty and its multiple manifestations such as chronic malnutrition, the absence of health care or access to education remain worrying, despite recent improvements. In 2007, 70% of Madagascar’s 18 million inhabitants were suffering from extreme poverty.
After years of political instability, democratic progress has been made in the country, particularly in terms of institutional reforms. Growth has recovered a degree of dynamism.
The development strategy is sharply focused on reducing poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. In 2007, the new Madagascar Action Plan (MAP) replaced the Strategic Document on Poverty Reduction until 2012. It aims to ensure a quantitative leap in the country’s development process.
The 10th European Development Fund (EDF) fits into this context. It is structured around the development of transport infrastructure, rural development and planning, while emphasising the promotion of good governance and the reinforcement of regional integration.
In the field of infrastructure, particular attention was reserved for reinforcing the funding of the European Road Maintenance Fund and continuing the reform of the institutions responsible for transport infrastructure. The programme focuses on reconstruction, rehabilitation and maintenance of existing roads without envisaging new routes, in order to retain the existing system and respect the environment.
Rural development, its agricultural components and its food security aspect in particular, as well as decentralisation, form the second main area of the 10th EDF. Actions to support institutional reforms, democratisation and consolidation of the constitutional state started under the 9th EDF should also be stepped up.