Madagascar Economy and Culture



Geographical isolation, insufficiency of internal communications and infrastructures in general, net dependence on world markets are some of the elements that contribute to determining the backwardness of the Malagasy economy, based on agriculture practiced with antiquated methods, scarcely productive and to a large extent subject to weather conditions (typhoons are frequent). The British colonial domination made Madagascar a strategic node along the trade routes with Asia, but, interested only in the immediate exploitation of local resources (timber and plantation crops), did not plan development plans for the island and did not provide training. of entrepreneurs and technicians able to manage an authentic renewal policy. Dependence on England remained even after independence until the turn of 1975 which led the country towards a Marxist economy, a forced socialization and towards the nationalization of the major productive sectors. Years of great difficulty followed for the country, with the loss of self-sufficiency and the collapse of GDP per capita and the increase in external debt. The socialist economic policies were gradually abandoned at the end of the eighties of the century. XX by adopting measures to liberalize trade and to encourage foreign investments, as well as establishing industrial free zones; the major efforts of the government were directed to the strengthening of agriculture. These measures allowed the reopening of collaboration with the IMF and the World Bank. Starting from the mid-nineties of the century. XX there was a gradual economic improvement, although the conditions of underdevelopment persisted. Madagascar remains, in the first decade of the 2000s, heavily dependent on international aid and the foundations are lacking to be able to include it among the countries with an advanced economy. Its GDP, although growing, was US $ 9,254 million in 2008, and in the same year its GDP per capita was US $ 458. In 2005, the member countries of the IMF and the World Bank canceled the country’s foreign debt. Visit for African economy.


Each area of ​​the island has a defined architecture and architectural style; the houses along the coast are built with lightweight materials found on site, including palm and succulent fibers. The typical Merina house is a tall, narrow structure with small windows and brick columns supporting the front veranda. Betsileos decorate their homes with wood carvings. Textile art plays a very important part in daily life, also because it is believed that fabrics have supernatural powers in some cases. The merinas use a particular natural silk thread to weave cloths called lamba mena (red silk). These fabrics, dyed in various colors, are worn by the aristocracy and are also used for funeral ceremonies. Traditional music has also received influences from overseas: the sakalava salegy is influenced by Kenyan and Indonesian influences; the sigaoma is similar to the South African music; the tsapika is typical of the southern region, while the watsa watsa it has a clear African derivation. With the exception of special events such as the Donia Festival in Nosy Be, which is held for a week in June, traditional music is difficult to listen to and is limited to rural areas; everywhere instead you can hear more western rhythms, a mixture of hip-hop and rap rhythms. Linked to traditional rites is the festival called Famadihana, or “overthrow of the bones”: on this occasion, which falls between June and September, the dead are unearthed, talked to them and exhumed again with a new shroud. Rice is the basis of food, so much so that it is already considered a meal in itself; it is accompanied by vegetables or chicken or duck meat; the alternative can be a sort of Chinese soup, made with the typical Chinese noodles with fish, chicken or vegetables, which denotes a clear Asian influence; in poorer rural areas, rice is accompanied by cassava or corn. The meat of zebu it is the most popular, and is cooked in the form of steak, as is fish in all its versions. Directly French is the extraordinary variety of sweets and pastries. The only UNESCO World Heritage Site is the Ambohimanga Hill Area (2001); here is the royal city of the homonymous kingdom, with burials and places of worship. It is an important point of reference for the Malagasy national identity, still frequented today since the century. XVI.


More than from neighboring Africa, Malagasy artistic production is influenced by the Oceanian world (Indonesia, Melanesia, Polynesia). The plastic arts are mainly expressed in the aloala, slender wooden funerary poles 2 to 4 m high and richly decorated in carving, carved by groups of blacks from southern Madagascar. Other artistic manifestations are represented by the stepped tombs and ikat fabrics.

Madagascar Culture

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