From independence until 2001, Franco-Malagasy relations have been inconsistent, marked by three periods:
a strong presence during President Tsiranana’s term (1959-1972);
degradation during the “progressive” period (including closing military bases and leaving the franc zone in 1972, “Malgachization” and nationalization in 1975-1978);
a renewal after the reversal in Malagasy foreign policy in the late 1980s. The dispute over nationalization and the spoliation of individuals was cleared in 1998-2001.
Early in his first term, President Ravalomanana, who considered France as a partner inherited from the past, wanted to reduce the role of our country in Madagascar and turned to other public and private partners (U.S., Germany, China, South Africa, SADC). However, in the face of their lack of enthusiasm for Madagascar, while French bilateral aid and private investment did not decline (almost 25,000 French people are settled in Madagascar, nearly 700 companies with French capital) and our country’s support in international financial institutions proved decisive in defending Madagascar’s interests, President Ravalomanana renewed dense relations with France. He has retained, however, a strong tropism for the United States, Germany, and China for his “authoritarian democracy” model.
France’s Position Regarding the Malagasy Political Crisis
The country’s number one partner, France has favored a realistic and pragmatic approach and has sought to convince Madagascar’s other partners (AU/SADC, US, EU) of the need to reconcile principles and take into account the realities in the field. France has fully supported the international mediation efforts led by the SADC.
France is pleading in favor of quick – but credible – elections which alone can bring about unquestionable political legitimacy, by giving the voice back to the people. This virtuous process must necessarily be supported by significant foreign assistance.
Also keen to minimize the impact of the political crisis on the Malagasy population, and in response to an alarming deterioration of the economic situation, France did not wish to interrupt its efforts towards the poorest populations. France has also mobilized following the dramatic passage of cyclones Irina and Giovanna that hit the Great Island in early 2012, responding to the call for international solidarity launched by the authorities.
Updated on : 19.06.12