Many of the world's poorest countries
are heavily dependent on foreign humanitarian aid in order to meet
the food, health and educational needs of their people. In Madagascar, such
aid was switched off lfollowing the military backed coup
which has led to swinging cuts of between 50-70% across all
aspects of Madagascar life and left an already impoverished
country on the precipice, but, as ever, its those already in
poverty in Madagascar who are affected most, not the ruling elite.
Since the coup the
number of children leaving school to work to stay alive has risen
by 25% with an estimated two million children now working instead
of receiving education.
Although child labour is illegal in Madagascar, biting poverty
makes it a survival necessity.
Many of these children work as labourers in the fishing
industry, as domestic servants or in stone quarries. One seven
year old boy stated "I have to crush two big bags of gravel per
day to make my mother happy."
Even before the recent political and economic difficulties,
nearly 70% of Madagascar's population was living below the
poverty line with the country coming in at 143 out of the
poorest 177 countries in the world. Poverty rises to 85% in
rural areas, which is home to 80% of the country's 20 million
population. Most families rely on subsistence farming from a
plot barely larger than 1.3 hectares and such farm land is
becomingly increasingly stretched as the population rises.
Since the political crisis unfolded a quarter of all health
care centres have had to close their doors due to a lack of
funding and women are abandoning their newborns in hospital
because they simply cannot afford to feed them.
Poverty in Madagascar is also effected by Malagasy culture
whereby there are rigid social structures based on age, gender
and ethnicity leaving the country's richest 10% in control of
over a third of the country's wealth. This video documentary
explores poverty issues in Madagascar.
Human Development Index for
Madagascar 1980 - Present
(Human Development Index) is measured by the UNESCO Institute for
Statistics (UIS) and the World Bank and is based upon the life
expectancy, literacy, access to knowledge and living standards of a
is in 151st place out of 186 countries and territories in 2013 and the
chart above shows that Madagascar is slightly above the norm for low
human development but significantly lower than average world development.