Situated off the southeast coast of Africa, Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. Having developed in isolation, the island nation is famed for its unique wildlife.

Traditionally, the Malagasy economy has been based on the cultivation of paddy rice, coffee, vanilla and cloves. But despite a wealth of natural resources and a tourism industry driven by its unique environment, the country remains one of the world's poorest and is heavily dependent on foreign aid.

Since gaining independence from France in 1960, Madagascar has experienced repeated political instability, including coups, violent unrest and disputed elections.After discarding socialist economic policies in the mid-1990s, Madagascar followed a World Bank- and IMF-led policy of privatization and liberalization until the onset of a political crisis, which lasted from 2009 to 2013. The free market strategy placed the Madagascar on a slow and steady growth path from an extremely low starting point. Exports of especially apparel boomed after gaining duty-free access to the US in 2000; however, Madagascar's failure to comply with the requirements of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) led to the termination of the country's duty-free access in January 2010, a sharp fall in textile production, and a loss of more than 100,000 jobs. The country regained AGOA access in January 2015 following the democratic election of a new president in 2014.

Madagascar has significant crafts sector that continues to be a substantial opportunity for the less skilled part of the labour force.

 

 

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