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The Youth: A Hopeful Pillar for Madagascar’s Future

As President Andry Rajoelina of Madagascar campaigns for re-election in November, he openly acknowledges the difficulties his country faces. Despite focusing on infrastructure during his first term, he now aims to hasten the process of industrialization, boost agriculture, and promote the private sector and human capital. In an interview with Hichem Ben Yaïche, President Rajoelina discusses his approach to the presidential election and the priorities he plans to address in his second term.

Madagascar has lagged behind in terms of development, with the anticipated growth for the population failing to materialize. President Rajoelina attributes this as the reason for seeking a second term. He emphasizes that he has made efforts to catch up on growth by constructing the necessary infrastructure. For instance, his government has built 4,198 classrooms to educate over 2,200 schoolchildren and students, which is a remarkable accomplishment not just for Madagascar, but for Africa as a whole. He has also established 28 hospitals with operating theaters, maternity wards, and other facilities to address the limited healthcare resources in the country. Despite the progress made, there are still significant needs that require attention.

To meet these needs, President Rajoelina emphasizes the importance of continued construction and development. During his first term, he focused on building courts and hospitals to improve access to justice and healthcare for the population. He also mentions the construction of the first motorway in Madagascar, which greatly reduces travel time between Antananarivo and the port of Tamatave. Additionally, efforts have been made to address the issue of famine in the south of the country by constructing a pipeline to supply water to municipalities.

President Rajoelina’s goal is to uplift the population out of poverty and improve the human development of the country. He plans to achieve this by prioritizing human capital development, promoting training, implementing industrialization programs, and offering incentives. These reforms, supported by the World Bank, have the potential to increase Madagascar’s growth by 4 percentage points.

Regarding industrialization, President Rajoelina acknowledges that the majority of households in Madagascar rely on agriculture. However, he highlights initiatives such as the CAJEF program, developed in collaboration with the World Bank, which supports farmers and includes incentive measures. The aim is to ensure that the country processes and utilizes its own agricultural produce. President Rajoelina envisions Madagascar becoming the rice granary of the Indian Ocean and Africa, and plans to provide support to farmers, enhance youth training, and create employment opportunities.

In terms of financial support for these programs and projects, President Rajoelina asserts that the State sets the vision and priorities, while the World Bank provides assistance based on those choices. He emphasizes that the dialogue between the government and its partners has been effective, with the World Bank supporting priority areas such as infrastructure projects.

President Rajoelina recognizes challenges in the electoral process, including tensions and opposition from other candidates. However, he believes that the Malagasy population has become politically mature and understands the limitations of former presidents who are now running against him. He condemns attempts to obstruct the electoral process and voices his commitment to stability and development in Madagascar. He believes that the majority’s voice through elections represents the choice of the people and aims to unite the country through democracy.

Overall, President Rajoelina’s focus for his second term is to address the country’s development needs, prioritize human capital, promote industrialization, and provide support to farmers and youth. He expresses confidence in the support and membership he has received from the population, emphasizing his love for his country and his commitment to its social progress.

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