Madagascar Foreign Policy

By | May 15, 2021

Relations with France

At no other European country Madagascar has still so close relations as with France. The foreign policy of Madagascar was shaped immediately after or in the 1st republic by the still very close relations with the former colonial power France. Conventions and agreements with French trading partners such as the Compagnie Marseillaise de Madagascar (CMM) or the Compagnie Franco-Malgache d┬┤Entreprises (CFME) continued to assure the oligarchs dominating the Malagasy market economic and financial interests, so that an independent economic dynamic hardly developed could. France’s strong influence was also evident in the security sector: the country offered military protection and had the right to control both military bases and the waters off Madagascar, and supported the island with military training and technical equipment. Culturally, the years of French colonial influence showed through the fact that higher educationtook place exclusively in French and the Malagasy elites often studied in France. In the mid-1960’s, the Malagasy government tried to establish political and economic relationships with other western European countries, but also with the USA. Diplomatic talks have also started with other, mostly former French colonies in Africa, but also with Asia (Japan, India, Indonesia).

Ramanantsoa (1972-1975) as well as Ratsiraka pursued a socialist policy and turned away from Europe. With that, France’s influence waned considerably. But relations with the USA were also strained. There were rumors among the population of fraudulent activities on the part of the French, which further deteriorated France’s reputation in Madagascar.

For a long time, anti-French tendencies were suspected behind Ravalomanana’s activities. He preferred the English language, joined the SADC and initiated treaties and agreements that were concluded with many countries except France. However, Ravalomanana’s policy can also be interpreted in such a way that he generally wanted to anchor Madagascar more in the globalized world and thus strengthen the importance of his country as a reliable contractual partner. In the crisis of 2009, initiatives against France intensified. There is a lack of transparency about the extent to which Rajoelina has been in office during his first term supported or at least tolerated by France. He had announced Madagascar’s withdrawal from SADC and a return to the French education system.

According to extrareference, relations between Madagascar and France recovered under Rajaonarmampianina. The reintegration into the international community as an important political goal of the president seems to be favored by the historical relations with France. As a bilateral partner, France is an important economic and developmental force. The new President Rajoelina also visited his counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Paris in 2019. It was also about the “Iles Eparses”, islands near Madagascar that are administered by France, but have been claimed by Madagascar for a long time.

Important foreign policy relations with other countries

Good foreign relations are for Madagascar, which continues to be one of the world before one of the poorest countries significantly. Therefore the government in Antananarivo is trying to strengthen cooperation worldwide. The EU, the IMF, the World Bank and USAID should be mentioned as international supporters of the country. Madagascar is a member of important regional organizations such as the AU, SADC, COMESA, EU-ACP (ESA states) and the IOC(Indian Ocean Commission). Bilateral diplomatic and economic relations exist with many countries around the world, the most important trading partners besides France are the USA, Germany, China and Great Britain. Contacts with India are also being intensified.

Relations with Germany are good. In 1883 the first German-Malagasy friendship treaty was concluded. Germany enjoys a good reputation as an important donor country, as a supporter in the democratic process and as a cultural partner. After the crisis in 2009, Germany did not resume relations with Madagascar until 2015. In 2017 Rajaonarimampianina visited Berlin as part of a friendship visit.

Madagascar foreign policy