Ms. Rosette RASOAMANARIVO
Chargé d’affaires ad interim, Embassy of the Republic of Madagascar to Japan
—Designated by the member countries of the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF), Madagascar will receive the next meeting of the IOF 2016. After the failure of holding a summit in the island in 2010, hosting it next year with deepen the ties with the IOF. What will be the impact of hosting the meeting for the Malagasy people?
Indeed, the Republic of Madagascar is committed to host the XVI Francophonie Summit in November 2016, gathering heads of state and government representatives of member countries of the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF). This will be a major global event!
This is a great honour for Madagascar, and also an opportunity to show the great francophone family and its supporters, the active return of our great island, which is ready to contribute, to share and to leave its mark on Francophonie history. Madagascar will regain its former position thanks to the XVI summit. Our great island will strengthen its relationships with the IOF, especially its political and diplomatic, economic and commercial as well as cultural and scientific relations with friendly countries within bilateral and multilateral frameworks.
For the Malagasy population, welcoming such an event shall certainly represent a big step in the country’s process of sustainable development. Indeed, economic and social benefits will be expected after renewing and building the infrastructure needed to support this great gathering. Therefore, this represents a mark of appreciation for our island and its people, the world, and in particular, the great francophone family will look to Madagascar.
Thus, there are major economic issues; Madagascar is committed to economic policy in particular, because the francophone community has a total population of 900 million people spread over five continents. Francophonie represents 14% of the world’s population, 20% of the world goods trade, 14% of gross national income worldwide and almost 247 million speakers.
—During the French Language World Forum 2015 in Belgium, Liège, young Malagasy people presented some very interesting entrepreneurial projects. How is the IOF contributing to promote the youth of Madagascar?
Of course, eight young Malagasy took part in the second youth French language world forum, which was held 20-23 July 2015 in Liège. They presented really interesting projects. Let’s take for example the “Cyberclic” project devised by Njaka and Tojo, which is among the 6 projects selected during the FMLF. This project intends to set up computerized spaces to connect young people in rural communities to the Internet. This project will also allow the development of education through increasing the country’s education rate, especially the gaining of education in the areas where it is implemented.
Indirectly, young Malagasy will receive benefits from programs supported or funded by the IOF. Such projects include the linguistic and educational enhancement program for secondary school teachers, the “national languages school” initiative or ELAN with the Ministry of National Education, a grants fund to support 25 competency-based approach methodologists (APC) (Ministry of Employment, Technical Education and Professional Training/National Institute for Training of Technical Educational Institution Staff and Professional Training) or support for French language and French education (MAPEF) jointly worked out by national authorities and French multilateral cooperation. Their contribution to education is a real success!
—The Madagascar Action Plan was implemented in 2007 based on eight main commitments. After eight years, what are the results?
Looking back on recent history, Madagascar held a peaceful democratic election two years ago, after five years of political and civil unrest. Since January 2014, the beautiful island of Madagascar has been under the leadership of President Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who was brought to victory through democratic elections and has now formed a legitimate government as well as a new five-year term road map: Le Plan National pour le Développement (PND) or National Development Plan. This PND, National Development Plan, set up by the Government has a clear vision: “to make Madagascar a prosperous and modern nation, strong and transformed.” The pillars of Madagascar’s development are based on priority areas such as governance, security, decentralization and the rule of law, sustaining macroeconomic stability, inclusive growth, human capacity development and the sustainable development of natural resources.
—Can you tell us about the bilateral relations between Madagascar and Japan? Thanks to its amazing nature, beautiful scenery and wildlife, the awareness of Madagascar in Japan is quite high. What are the key sectors in which you would like to increase potential partnerships?
The relations between Madagascar and Japan are at an extremely healthy stage and are intensifying. Several opportunities for high-level exchanges occurred for both sides recently. From the Japanese side, the Official Visit of the President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Dr. Akihiko Tanaka, to Madagascar in January was an important milestone to further strengthen relations and trust between the two countries. The financing of more than $500 million for the “Toamasina Port Development Project” on the east coast of Madagascar through a yen-loan project will be one of the biggest investments in the country in cooperation with Japan.
The second Africa Japan Ministerial Meeting for Natural Resource Development (JAMM2) held last May has created a new level of cooperation to incentivize private investment for Africa and Madagascar, in particular.
In addition, the visit of Dr. Daishiro Yamagiwa, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, to Madagascar in April, accompanied by a number of Japanese corporations, allowed both sides to find concrete areas of cooperation and investment in Madagascar.
From the Madagascar side, exchange visits by high-level delegates conducted by Madagascar’s Minister at the Presidency in charge of Mining and Petrol to Japan in partnership with the Information Center for Petroleum Exploration and Production (ICEP) and the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEG), were very important occasions for sharing information about Madagascar project opportunities with the Japanese public and private sectors. Additionally, the second Africa Japan Ministerial Meeting for Natural Resource Development (JAMM2) held in May has created a new level of cooperation to incentivize private investment for Africa and Madagascar, in particular. These are all indicators that show the relationship is strong and positioned for further development in the future. Through this cooperation, we seek to enhance the partnership with the spirit of mutual interest in mining, infrastructure, education, fisheries and agriculture.
Furthermore, seven youth from Madagascar have just arrived in Japan to follow the program offered by ABE initiative (African Business Education for Youth). Through this study at master’s courses in Japanese universities and internship experience at Japanese companies, they will develop their skills and knowledge in various fields to contribute to the development of industry on the beautiful island of Madagascar later.
Naturally, people-to-people relations are an area that we wish to support and increase. It is through such grassroots connections that we can build long-lasting relations. In this regard, the Madagascar Embassy in Japan with Malagasy citizen in Japan and Japanese associations’ partners will organize together the 1st Madagascar Festival event on October 25th, 2015 at Arisugawanomiya Memorial Park, Tokyo, to connect with each other and share culture.
It is inspiring to know that both Madagascar and Japan are committed to the continued strengthening of their relationship.