Madagascar fact of the day

President Hery Rajaonarimampianina is weathering the latest in a series of political crises that have debilitated his nation since independence in 1960. In that period, Madagascar is the world’s only non-conflict country to have become poorer, according to the World Bank. Its income per head has nearly halved, to about $400.

That is from the excellent David Pilling at the FT.  According to one estimate, almost one out of two children is stunted through malnutrition.


Why do we keep up the pretense of sovereignty for these places? Just give it to a billionaire to sort out. It's not like they can figure out anything else to do with their money than park it in government bonds.

Good idea but the the only problem is finding the billionaire who wants to invest in Madagascar.

Maybe if he had a shorter surname it would help. Think of the ink that government agencies could save.

can't see behind the pay wall, but um, "non-conflict"?

Lasted less than a year, and effectively not a military conflict or even a proper civil war.

Certainly can't explain halving per-capita GDP over the last 60 years.

(I'd be more inclined to blame a generation plus of Revolutionary Socialist government and transitioning to effectively a one-party state until maybe 2002.

The bright spot was, looks like, attempted reform between 2002 and 2009, but it takes more than that to recover an economy from that kind of damage.)

Wasn't over the last 60 years. Per the Maddison Project, the decline was registered over the period running from 1971 to 1996. Since then, real income levels they contend have been static on average, with declines registered in 2001-02 and 2008-11 and counter balancing gains the other years.

The Maddison Project actually has a list of 42 countries who lost ground over the period running from 1971 to 1996. About 20 had seen some measure of warfare (generally intramural) during that period. About 16 of the remainder Tropical and Southern Africa. For others are quondam Communist countries for whom 1996 was around the nadir of the post-Soviet depression.

Just wondering about your handle there, Mr TSTD. My guess is, any of the following reasons:
1. It’s some sort of weird take on a Dad Joke.
2. You’re a BroFlake, and someone hurt your feelings once - and now you’re lashing out at the world.
3. You got cucked and you’re taking your revenge on all those kids who can’t hit back.
4. You’re Donald Trump, and I claim my $5.
5. All of the above.

Just wonderin’

I took it to be a French version of TDS: Trump syndrome de derangement (excuse the missing accents).

Anyhow what I’ve discovered is that here in MR anyone throwing around the term “cuck” is sexually insecure and has been bested by Art Deco in an argument. Perhaps that includes you, Brian.

Maybe. It depends how one defines insecure I guess. Although I don’t get the reference to Art Deco. Insecure or not, Trolly McTrollface handles are distasteful if specifically designed to hurt feelings, and should Foxtrot Oscar, regardless of ones’ insecurities.

"Hery Rajaonarimampianina"

No wonder they're so poor, no one can figure out how to spell or say anyone's names. The president should rename himself Hery Raja as an example to all his countrymen. My best estimate is this would increase real GDP growth by 1% for the next 30 years.

I've been wondering if Tikki Tikki Tembo has been exiled to oblivion in the recent purges. Apparently it's still around.

Agree, with incomes like that they can't possibly afford such extravagant surnames. Living beyond their means, instead of investing productively they waste it on ink.

If they had implemented Vowel Austerity like Bosnia, they'd be rllng n clvr.

Effect of culture on success; compare the following Indian Ocean countries:

The two relatively successful countries, Maldives successful despite being Muhammadan zealots without oil, were ruled by the British for a century and a half before independence, Madagascar was ruled by the French for about the same time before independence.

I'll give you another another Indian Ocean territory:

Granted, it's not an independent country, but ruled (still) by the French.

Good point, they seem to be doing about as well as Portugal, while carrying more French baggage than Madagascar!

I first heard about LaReunion while reading O'Brien Aubrey Maturin books (Master and Commander etc)

Leaving France in 1960-4 was probably the biggest mistake any 20th century country could ever make. Mayotte is a shining example for New Caledonia to follow.

Mauritius is heathen and prosperous. India is heathen and a charity case. "Culture" has nothing to do with it.

Heathen in what sense? That they do not bid to host the World Cup?

They follow Satanism (Hinduism).

Oh, please.
Once again proof that "your imaginary friend" does not exist.

Only the bottom 70% or 80% of India is a charity case; the rest are doing extremely well. With so many Indians around, I would have thought Madagascar would have developed a veneer of prosperity like Kenya, but I guess not.

Ok, then.

What about north Korea, isn't just about everyone there stunted from malnutrition?

Trump says north korea is lead by the "very honorable" and "very talented" Un who "loves his country very much." If you hear differently, it must be deep state propaganda.

Deforestation has been a large problem, which seems to be a common problem for islands. Cowen's post yesterday about spatial competition and development seems relevant, but I do not understand the concept sufficiently to make any kind of broad statement about how it might affect islands generally or Madagascar in particular.

This will not do. Lemurs of Madagascar, unite and throw off the yoke of oppression!

"Madagascar’s economic freedom score is 56.8, making its economy the 119th freest in the 2018 Index...Madagascar is endowed with bountiful untapped natural resources and a free-market economy, but it has not developed a capital market. The combination of a weak judicial system, convoluted administrative procedures, poor enforcement of contracts, and rampant government corruption impairs the business environment. The judicial system is underdeveloped. Improved financial governance would help to enforce laws against money laundering and strengthen supervision of the banking sector...the vast majority of farmers do not hold the official rights to their land...outmoded labor regulations are restrictive and hold back development of a dynamic labor market."

I don't think that's true. Zimbabwe is poorer today than it was in the 1960s (i.e. WB development indicators, GDP per capita, constant prices). You wouldn't describe Zimbabwe as a conflict country.

And actually, Zimbabwe is by far the worst performing country by growth in Africa on that timescale (for which data is available), comparable perhaps only with CAR. (Somalia and Libya have probably also done worse over that time frame because of conflict, but unfortunately, because of this, data is not available.)

The poor growth performance in Zimbabwe is remarkable, given it has such huge growth potential (i.e. second highest platinum reserves in the world etc). It's true Zimbabwe (like almost countries in Africa) has had some conflict over the last 50 years, but this has not been correlated with the bulk of it its negative growth. The wider point being, that if you want to find the country in the world that has been most impacted by poor leadership over the long term, that country, using almost any criteria, is definitely Zimbabwe.

Obviously, it's also important to point out that weakness in the data means that making judgements based on GDP statistics in Africa going back to 1960 will be extremely imprecise.

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