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Madagascar, a former French colony, has been attacked by military coups, political violence, and corruption for decades. It is an economy with many untapped natural resources, no capital markets, a weak judicial system, poorly enforced contracts, and rampant government corruption. Agriculture, including fishing and forestry, is a mainstay of the economy, accounting for more than one-fourth of GDP and employing roughly 80% of the population. Deforestation and erosion, and the use of firewood as the primary source of fuel, are serious concerns to the agriculture dependent economy. Madagascar produces around 80% of the world’s vanilla supply; although supply was constrained by hurricane-related damage in 2017, international demand drove prices to record highs, increasing export earnings for Malagasy vanilla.

The country faces challenges to improve education, healthcare, and the environment to boost long-term economic growth. After discarding socialist economic policies which proved disastrous for Madagascar in the mid-1990s, Madagascar followed a World Bank and IMF led policy of privatisation and liberalisation until the onset of a political crisis, which lasted from 2009 to 2013. The strategy had placed the country on a slow and steady growth path from an extremely low starting point. Exports of 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. Madagascar regained AGOA access in January 2015 following the democratic election of a new president the previous year. Madagascar’s financial sector remains weak, limiting the use of monetary policy to control inflation, but ongoing IMF efforts aim to strengthen financial and investment management capacity.

The reason for selecting Madagascar as the country of our analysis is due to its rich history and political influences. The political instability and various outside influences have indeed played a big part in the structuring of Madagascar’s economy which can shed insight into their current demographic state. A number of parameters will be looked into such as social, historical, economic, and cultural forces to provide an all rounded perspective and analysis.


To understand theoretically and practically the importance of the Demographic Transition Model.
To outline the trend in which Madagascar has revived its economy demographically.
To analyse the past and current circumstances in Madagascar to better realise the current scenario.
To examine and assess the demographic and policy drivers of Female Labour Force Participation in Madagascar.


For the purpose of this analysis, secondary research has been used. Data has been extracted from the records published by the World Bank, IMF, Madagascar Data Portal and other sources. Data on parameters such as literacy and education levels, employment rates, female labour force participation levels, infant mortality rate, total fertility rate and several other others have been looked into and analysed. Further, the implications of these parameters in determining the growth rate, phase of demographic transition as well as global presence and performance of Madagascar will also be analysed.


Madagascar is one of the world’s poorest countries; 85% of the country’s population have an income of less than $2 a day. Madagascar, considered to be the forgotten country of Africa, given its history and political crises and instability, several development economists have taken it upon themselves to explain the socio-political and economic situation of the country and to induce and promote sustainable growth within the country. This section highlights the studies, papers and articles undertaken previously and the findings therewith.

Impact of Political Uncertainty on Malagasy Growth
(K.T. Moyo, 2017)
This article traces the political history of Madagascar and analyses the political economy of the country. It studies the impact of political instability on the growth rate of the country. It also elaborates on the policies put forth in various political regimes that have had severe consequences on the Malagasy economy and growth.

2. History of Conflict and its Impact on Madagascan Development
(E.H. Mbeletshie, 2019)
This article elaborates on the evolution of Madagascan economy in the wake of conflict and its direct impact on socio-economic growth. It also provides a detailed analysis on the performance of the sectors that are major contributors to the GDP of the economy.

3. Republic of Madagascar : Economic Development Document
(IMF, 2017)
This paper describes the strategy adopted by the government to reverse the trend of modest economic performance, deteriorating social conditions, and persistent poverty observed in recent years. The strategy adopts an approach that combines macroeconomic, sectoral, and structural elements that produce positive, direct impacts for poverty reduction.

Apart from the above mentioned papers, all relevant literature has been looked into for the purpose of this research and form a part of data analysis.


Through this section, the demographic transition of Madagascar is identified and thoroughly analysed.

The tables given below highlight the economic as well as demographic indicators of Madagascar.

Economic Indicators of Madagascar

Source: World Bank

Demographic Indicators of Madagascar

Source: World Bank

Demographic Transition

Demographic transition is, essentially, a model that describes the change in population over time. Demographic transition is a series of stages that a country goes through when transitioning from non-industrial to industrial. It is important to note that demographic transition involves the transition from high birth and death rates to lower birth and death rates. It can be witnessed that most developing countries are in the process of this transition while most developed countries have completed the transition and have low birth rates. The concept involves four stages.

The demographic transition has enabled economies to convert a larger portion of the gains from factor accumulation and technological progress into growth of income per capita. It enhanced labor productivity and the growth process via three channels. First, the decline in population growth reduced the dilution of the growing stocks of capital and infrastructure, increasing the amount of resources per capita. Second, the reduction in fertility rates permitted the reallocation of resources from the quantity of children toward their quality, enhancing human capital formation and labor productivity. Third, the decline in fertility rates affected the age distribution of the population, temporarily increasing the fraction of the labor force in the population and thus mechanically increasing productivity per capita.
However, it has been proposed that in the long term, the parameters should be replaced with higher fertility and higher mortality. This is widely accepted due to evolutionary pressure and more so because of the well-established correlation linking falling fertility to social and economic development. For the purpose of this analysis, we have proceeded to study the demographic transition of Madagascar with respect to Infant Mortality Rates and Total Fertility Rates. The DT model will, hence, have 5 stages:

The first stage or pre-industrial stage
The first stage of the DT is the pre-industrial stage wherein the population is stable with both high infant mortality rates (IMR) and high fertility rates (TFR). The mortality rates are high due to increased disease, minimal medical care, poor sanitation, and limited food supplies. As a result, people tend to produce more offspring to try and compensate for the mortality thereby leading to a high fertility rate. Ultimately, the IMR and TFR roughly remain equal which results in zero or minimal and slow population growth.

2. The second stage or transitional stage
This stage is highlighted by an increase in population due to falling IMR and constant TFR. The IMR is decreasing because, as the country transitions into an industrial country, there are improvements in the economy and social conditions. These changes lead to the control of diseases, the production of more food, better jobs, and improved medical care and sanitation. As the IMR decreases, the TFR remains constant (TFR can also be declining but not at the same rate as IMR) because people are still accustomed to producing more children, and during this stage, they have more food and resources to support larger families. As a result, the population increases rapidly.

3. The third stage or industrial stage
The third stage is characterised by increasing population with declining TFR and low IMR. The IMR remains low and stable during this stage due to the continuation of economic and social changes that improved the standard of living during the previous stage. For the most part, people realise that they do not have to produce large number of children as the children now have a much higher probability of surviving and reaching adulthood. People start to prefer smaller and nuclear families where they can concentrate more resources on fewer people and increase overall livelihood, standard of living and satisfaction. This leads to a declining TFR. Another reason contributing to declining TFR is the higher availability of contraceptives and other measures of birth control.

4. The fourth stage or post-industrialisation
In the fourth stage, IMR and TFR are both at a low level and near balance. This leads to a more or less stationary population.

5. The fifth stage or stage of decrease in population
In the concept of DT involving IMR and TFR, the fifth stage is a stage consisting of decreasing TFR due to rise in individualism, greater financial independence of women, lack of resources for future generations and an increase in non-traditional lifestyles. This leads to a decline in population. This stage is also characterised by an elderly population followed by a longer life expectancy due to economic and social conditions of the country and hence a higher dependency ratio. It must be noted that only few countries recognise this stage.

The Demographic Transition Model of Madagascar

Given below is the graph of Madagascar’s IMR, TFR and population from the year 1960 to 2014.

It can be observed that both the IFR and TFR have been declining from the year 1960 onwards while the population has been constantly increasing. This shows that Madagascar is in the third stage or stage of industrialisation of their demographic transition. Madagascar has always been known as the forgotten country of the African continent and is one of the poorest countries in the world. To truly understand why Madagascar is in its third stage of DT, it is imperative to understand why Madagascar is so poor. Under the past dictator, Didier Ratsiraka, the government was corrupt and stole much of the aid money given by other countries. Economic colonialism by the French meant the economy was closely tied to resource extraction (logging, mining, fishing), which often does not promote long-term economic growth since resources are depleted as they are removed. Lack of infrastructure, especially roads, makes it hard for farmers to get their products to markets, while Madagascar’s geographic isolation from the rest of the world increases the cost of trade. Everything Madagascar produces or wants to buy from other countries must be shipped by airplane or boat. Moreover, Madagascar’s red soils are generally poor for agriculture. A weak education system makes it difficult for young Malagasy to find jobs outside the agricultural sector and very few people in Madagascar have access to technology or the Internet. Finally, damage to the environment has reduced the ability of Madagascar’s farmers to produce large amounts of food. All these factors contribute to Madagascar’s poverty; the average Malagasy makes around $1 US per day, while 70% of the Malagasy live below the world poverty line. Nearly half of Madagascar’s children under five years of age are malnourished. It is extremely important to note that Ratsiraka’s rule began in 1975 till 1991 and he managed to cause serious damage to Malagasy economy as mentioned above and specifically through his socialist policies which impoverished Madagascar even more. His rule was marked by high IMR, as can be seen in the graph with IMR curve peaking in the year 1980. Due to the miserable social and economic conditions, the IMR rose during this period. Madagascar has always been characterised by political instability and continues to be so but the country got a breakthrough in 2005 when it discovered large amounts of oil. Though this has not lead to the desired impact, oil companies have helped in improving the state of economy along with emerging tourism focusing on Madagascar’s landscape, the richness of its biodiversity, its ecosystems, its natural riches and the ethnic variety as well as its vanilla and coffee cash crops. Their mining industry is indeed sizeable and contributes substantially to economic growth and GDP. Madagascar has enjoyed sustained economic growth from 2013 to 2017. Trade significantly improved during this period. The economy is currently expanding focusing on inclusive growth which is essential for poverty reduction. Increased access to financial services will improve economic inclusion and allow the poor to benefit from growth further helping in poverty reduction. Hence, a general increase in the economic and social conditions of the country have lead to declining IMR and TFR. Early Madagascar was characterised by a taboo against contraception and contraceptive measures to the extent that women needed spousal permission before taking any form of contraceptives. In November 2018, a law was passed enabling women to freely take contraceptive measures. Moreover, equal laws have boosted female labour force participation. This has further lead to the decline in TFR.

Though the declining and slowing down of IMR and TFR indicates a stabilising population, this is not the case. The fall in TFR has not been optimal and sufficient enough to allow the population to peak and reach its maxima and fall thereafter. Hence, the population is on a rise. This could also be due to other factors such as migration into Madagascar that has not been accounted for by these parameters. Government policies for the expansion of the Malagasy economy and the struggle to overcome political instability could be other factors contributing to increasing population.

Although the government is committed to placing Madagascar on the path of sustainable and inclusive growth, improved physical and human capital, and strong governance, the Malagasy economy is hampered by fragile institutions, Madagascar is striving to recover from an extended political crisis and international isolation from 2009 to 2013. During this period, key social and developmental indicators deteriorated. The recovery that began in 2014 has so far failed to gain much momentum due to key commodity prices falling, weather-related shocks, and deep-rooted structural weaknesses. This poses as a major hindrance not just in terms of comic and social growth and development but also prevents Madagascar from transitioning into the fourth stage of DT from the current third stage.

The graphs below showcase the structure of population in 1995 and 2005.

It is evident that population in the two time periods are concentrated in the younger age groups and decline with an increase in age groups.

The graphs below showcase the prediction of the structure of the population in the years 2025 and 2050.

The prediction for 2025 shows the concentration of population in the younger age groups and declining with an increase in age group which is in line with the third stage of DT that Madagascar is currently in with a low IMR and TFR.

However, predictions for 2050 show that population will be more or less equally distributed barring that of ages 75+. This could mean a transition into the fourth stage or even fifth stage of DT.

Factors Affecting Demographic Transition

Education, Literacy, Employment and Female Labour Force Participation

Education in Madagascar has had a long history. It was made a priority under President Marc Ravalomanana (2001-2009) who sought to improve both access and quality of formal and non-formal education. A massive campaign of school renovation, expansion and construction has been coupled with the recruitment and training of tens of thousands more teachers. This initiative was supported with funds from intergovernmental organisations such as the World Bank and UNESCO, and bilateral grants from many countries, including France, the United Staes and Japan. A key pedagogical objective of these reforms included a shift from a traditional, didactic teaching style to a student centred form of instruction involving frequent group work. As of 2009, Madagascar was on target to achieve the Education For All objective of universal enrolment at the primary level. Student achievement, teacher quality, widespread shortage of materials and access to secondary and tertiary schooling continue to be challenges, as are poverty-related obstacles such as high repetition and attrition rates and poor student health. The gradual expansion of education opportunities has had an impressive impact on Malagasy society, most notably in raising the literacy level of the general population. Only 39 percent of the population could be considered literate in 1966; in 2012 literacy rate stands at 71%.

However, the 2009 political crisis in Madagascar resulted in cessation of all but emergency aid to the country, further exacerbating poverty-related challenges and threatening to undo much recent progress in the education sector. Madagascar is currently still working on its recovery.

In the case of employment, it is not unemployment which is the problem in Madagascar, but rather, underemployment, that is, employment that does not earn workers a living wage. Many Malagasy citizens are trapped in low-wage activities, often in the informal sector and usually in the agricultural sector. There are high returns from primary and secondary education, from access to credit and capital assets, and from formal employment (including in the government sector) relative to informal employment. Poor citizens have virtually no access to credit or capital for fertiliser and other necessary inputs, and are often cut off from major infrastructure such as irrigation and roads. Most also lack crucial skills that would allow them to acquire jobs in other higher productivity and therefore more highly paid employment, or to raise the earnings of their self-employment. The stark reality is that most citizens lack the skills and training that would allow them to get these higher-paid jobs.
Of equal importance, the economy is not growing fast enough or with the right sectoral balance to generate these jobs.

In terms of FLFP, Madagascar has been recently promoting participation of women in the labour force. From the graph provided below, it can be observed that FLFP remained constant till the year 2206 and started rising. Post 2014, FLFP has been witnessing a decline and this is due to the political disarray in the country.

The following tables provide information (in millions) about the distribution of the Malagasy population with respect to these parameters.

The graph provided above depicts labour force participation by gender across different income groups. It is evident that male participation is exceeding that of women across all income groups and by a large margin in the middle income brackets.

The current government, in consultation with Malagasy citizens and with the help of multilateral institutions and international donors, has put together an ambitious plan, the Madagascar Action Plan (MAP), which, complemented by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), is designed to put the economy on a solid path toward sustainable growth and poverty reduction. After years of political instability and economic stagnation, recent political and economic progress and the MAP process provide a basis for optimism about medium-term economic prospects for the Malagasy economy and people. All this goes to prove that the current economic scenario further explains the reasoning behind Madagascar’s position in the demographic transition model.

2. Politics
Taking a look at Madagascar’s history, the Merina dynasty united all the people living on the island. 90% of the people in Madagascar are Malagasy and there are 20 ethnic groups in Madagascar today. The Merina rulers of Madagascar welcomed the English missionaries and soon the island had converted to the Christian faith. The missionaries influenced the people to create schools, medical centers and industry. The Malagasy people believed that their embrace of Christianity and modernity would save them from colonialism. Unfortunately, they did not realize that the version of European Christianity they had been introduced to was used to further the goals of the imperialists. In 1884, the French army launched their attack on the Malagasy people to expand the French empire; the war ended in a stalemate. In 1895, the French launched a bigger invasion which utterly destroyed the Merina ruler ship and the wheels of French colonialism were set in place across the island. The French rule brought devastation as they looted the resources and did not invest in infrastructure development and only shipped resources out to France. They eventually won their independence when the Malagasy Republic, proclaimed on October 14, 1958, became an autonomous state within the French Community and on on 26 March 1960, Madagascar became an independent country and Philibert Tsiranana became its first president.
Looking at some important events in the conflict oriented political history of Madagascar, we see that unconstitutional changes of the government, international isolation, sanctions from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and innumerable military coups have led to mayhem in the Madagascar economy. The most recent coup in 2009 led to five years of political deadlock, international condemnation and economic sanctions. Despite the return of democratic elections in 2013, the political situation remains fragile. The instability of power has led to numerous protests, civil disruptions and has given the country an adverse reputation in the investor and international market. During this havoc, we see how the economic growth has declined since 2009 to 2013, amidst political disruptions. Prior to the 2009 political crisis, Madagascar’s economic growth averaged 5.8% from 2004-2008; but declined to 1.4% in the period from 2009.
The election of Rajaonarimampianina in 2013 brought about a degree of political certainty. As a response to the challenges caused by the political crisis, the government adopted the National Development Plan (NDP): 2015 -2019. GDP growth from 2013 to 2015 increased slightly to an average of 2.9%, from 1.6% for 2010 to 2012. Recent data indicates Madagascar’s economic growth reached 4.2% in 2016 and is expected to reach 5% by 2020. A number of factors have contributed to the recovery of the economy, including the commitment of the current administration to solve the immediate consequences of the 2009-2013 political crisis and to ensure macroeconomic stability. This macroeconomic stability has led to lower inflation, a steady increase in foreign direct investment, totaling USD 541 million in 2016, a significant rebound compared to 2014 and 2015, which registered USD 351 million and USD 441 million respectively. Growth has been driven by the expansion of the tertiary sector, boosted by investment in public works, recovery of the mining sector, recovery of the agriculture sector, due to favourable climatic conditions and higher vanilla prices, and strength in export processing zones (EPZs). From August to December 2015, the price of vanilla rose about 200.0% and is now between MGA 70,000 (approx. USD 22.7) per kg and MGA 120,000 (approx. USD 39.0) per kg in 2017-18. This has resulted in the first current account surplus since 2001, providing relatively good incomes to about 200,000 people employed in the vanilla sector.
The potential source of political instability is the lack of institutionalization of political parties. In other words, ruling elites govern based on weak coalitions or alliances. As a result, these alliances can easily change during election times or after elections. For instance, President Rajaonarimampianina did not have a political party before elections. His Platform for a Presidential Majority (PMP) is an amalgamation of numerous political parties. The lack of the institutionalization of political parties produced a polarised National Assembly and hence, the nomination of the prime minister was disputed. These possibilities could ignite another wave of political instability that will have a negative impact on the economy.
The current relative political stability has resulted in economic recovery that has enabled the country to gain some quick-wins. However, the economic recovery remains fragile and the business environment remains weak. This is exemplified by the government’s failure to attract adequate investment towards other key sectors of the economy such as manufacturing and diversify the economy. During election time periods, elites are likely to focus more on political survival than economic growth, and this will delay the implementation of crucial structural reforms.
As a result, the outlook in the short-term and long-term is not positive. Without a smooth election and transition of power, the current political challenges will be heightened and this will adversely affect the economy in a number of ways – fundamental reforms will be delayed and the business environment will continue to be weak for long-term investment. This will undermine the investment potential of the export processing zones that have contributed to the recovery of the economy. Therefore, the country needs to maintain political stability in the short-term and long-term for development to take place. However, looking specifically at demographic transition and politics, we do not see any substantial contribution or impact this instability has had on the population numbers. From time onwards, the lack of political will and strong governmental plans has led to very low policy effectiveness. The effect of instable politics leading to poor implementation of population policies would have a direct effect on demographic transition. Thus, the political scenario indirectly had a major impact as the political frenzy affected all the factors in the economy.

3. Health
Public policies in the health sector have a huge potential to secure the health of communities. This is why health is an important parameter to be observed as it plays an utmost imperative role in securing and stabilizing the IMR and TFR figures of a country. Madagascar faces significant health and development challenges. With around 60 percent of its population under the age of 25, and a total fertility rate of four children per woman as of 2016, Madagascar’s population is very young and growing rapidly. More than three-quarters of the Malagasy people live in rural and often isolated areas, far from health facilities. Quite a few live in extreme poverty, limiting their financial access to health services. Madagascar also has a high maternal mortality rate due to lack of access to key reproductive health services and low availability of skilled assistance during childbirth. Even after gaining independence from France, this sector remained inadequate, with the staff and infrastructure for health concentrated in serving the elites.
Madagascar has taken a strong hold on many of the diseases prevalent. Poliomyelitis is almost eradicated; the country is no longer poliovirus-infected, but at high risk of outbreaks. There have been setbacks with deadly plague epidemic in Madagascar that could trigger an outbreak of polio. Leprosy prevalence is less than 1 per 10000. Madagascar stands apart from sub-Saharan African nations with regard to HIV/AIDS rates. At below 0.3%, it is the lowest prevalence rate in Sub-Saharan. A significant reason for this is Madagascar’s geography as an island, which greatly reduces the cross-border transfer of people, especially traders, truck drivers and migrant workers. This geographic isolation has also shielded Madagascar from human trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) that is widespread in southern Africa. This created a window of opportunity for prevention programmes to be established in Madagascar before the disease became widespread. The National AIDS prevention plan carried out by the government prior to the political crisis of 2009 and the actions of international aid agencies and NGOs have been invaluable in raising awareness of HIV and preventive measures to contain the epidemic. However, Madagascar remains at high risk of HIV spreading further. The Antiretrovirals drugs are available to only two per cent of people living with HIV/AIDS in Madagascar and hence, needs to become more accessible. Many of the containment efforts and education campaigns that have kept the disease at bay so far have faltered during the political crisis and to rebuild and extend these programmes to enhance awareness, diagnosis and treatment of HIV/AIDS will be crucial for the population. Thus, we can see here how political instability not alone but together with negative health impacts can affect the demographic transition.
The Madagascar Action Plan 2007–2012 (MAP) was one of the key policy of the Malagasy state, comprising five commitments outlining the government’s strategy on health, family planning and the fight against HIV/AIDS by constituting HIV/AIDS control and prevention; implementing a successful family planning strategy; reducing infant, neo-natal and maternal mortality; improving nutrition and food security; and providing safe water and promoting hygienic practices. They introduced almost 3000 Basic Health Centres. Post this policy effect, it was said that the people began taking a particular interest in family-planning practices and that educating rural people about healthy practices was the real challenge, especially about drinking water and the need to build latrines.

As Madagascar has been working to achieve a more sustainable and stable political, social, and economic framework since 2014, the policy HP+ works with the government, development partners, and civil society to tackle these challenges. The integrated approach involves stakeholders from national, regional, and district governments, as well as civil society and community groups. They wish to strengthen Malagasy capacity to develop, implement, and monitor health policies and strategies and to improve health conditions.
In 2015, more married women in Madagascar were using modern contraceptives than ever before, still their use among this group has stabilized at about 30 percent. Thus, the USAID Mikolo Project trained 4,000 community health volunteers (CHVs) how to use pregnancy test kits—a pioneering strategy to help expand family planning in remote areas. The five-year project works to increase the use of community-based primary health care services and the adoption of healthy behaviors among women of reproductive age, children under the age of five, and infants in six of Madagascar’s 22 regions. Thousands of women also suffer from birth injuries like obstetric fistula and UNFPA has provided assistance in 3499 repair surgeries between 2014 and 2017. It is currently financing more than 90 per cent of reproductive health commodities, part of a drive to extend quality reproductive health and family planning services. Sex education which has been aligned with international standards has also been an initiative.
On December 12, 2017, the Senate of Madagascar passed a landmark reproductive health and family planning law which will be a tremendous step forward toward rights-based reproductive health services in Madagascar, which until recently operated under a 1920s French colonial framework that prohibited distribution of contraception to youth or married women without spousal consent. Madagascar has a very high adolescent pregnancy rate — one out of three girls becomes pregnant before her 18th birthday — but health providers have been uncertain about the legality of family planning services for young people. The new law clearly defines access to family planning as a guaranteed right for all individuals, regardless of age. This is a firm foundation for Madagascar’s family planning program and a moment to witness the country’s commitment to progress, health, and human rights. Thus, we can envision more stabilizing and reducing of birth and death rates.
41 percent of the population is Christian (evenly divided between Roman Catholic and Protestant) and 7 percent are Muslim. The conversion to Christianity started from the French colonizer’s influence and then from the Merina dynasty. Underlying Christian conservative attitudes can hold as to why the framework that prohibited distribution of contraception to youth or married women without spousal consent existed. This could be why the fertility rates were higher in the previous years. Thus, we can see religion, customs, and traditions playing a small role in shaping the slow and gradual demographic transition of Madagascar. .
Looking at these plans for health and family planning measures as well as customs, politics and religion, we can see why the IMR and TFR have been gradually falling since the 2000s. As sanitation measures have increased with introduction of Basic Health centres and the low prevalence of HIV/AIDS, polio, etc., we see how the IMR has been reducing and with the education regarding health, contraceptives, the Reproductive Health and Family Planning Law, etc. we see the subsequent fall in TFR. The slow increase in the use of contraceptives can also be a reason for fewer STDs and lower TFR. Increase in women’s participation in the political arena as well as in the workforce accounts for the decreasing TFR as well. The newest Family Planning Law has taken the country’s development in the right direction. Nongovernmental organizations are authorized to provide contraceptive services. The health policy is more explicit, and the government has also taken steps to improve the role and condition of women, to protect children and youth, and to control urbanization and migration. Thus we can see how the Life Expectancy has gradually improved from an average of 37-38 years in 1960 to 66-67 years in 2016.


Madagascar and Mauritius are both countries in the African continent but could not be more different. While Madagascar is one of the world’s poorest countries, Mauritius is one of the most competitive economies – specifically in Africa. Mauritius has been considered to have made a successful demographic transition and have reached the stage of sustainable fertility decline whereas Madagascar has not.

The decline in fertility in Mauritius is assumed to be the most rapid fertility decline in the world. The challenge faced by Mauritius is to sustain the transition while in the case of Madagascar, the challenge is to adapt and practice lessons provided by Mauritius.

The table shows how Madagascar has one of the highest population growth rates as well as TFR. At the same time, it can be observed that Mauritius has the lowest population growth rate and TFR and the country has steadily managed to lower these rates over the years.

The major cause of difference that arises between the two countries that has lead to them levelling at different stages of demographic transition lies in the fact that Madagascar is plagued by political crisis and instability. Education, particularly of women, is certainly one of the most important factors that affected fertility behaviour and contributed to controlling population growth in Mauritius. About 80 per cent of the population are educated; 75 per cent of women in Mauritius are literate. Education in Mauritius through to university is free, with primary education compulsory. Employment along with education, contributed to higher living standards of the population where the vast majority of people bene ted from employment. It is difficult to attain this in Madagascar due to political disarray. It is well known that the success of Mauritian population management has been largely attributed to the Government’s concern and deep commitment to reducing the rate of population growth, through supportive and extensive health care services, family planning programmes, promotion of basic education, particularly among women, and social welfare schemes. The Government in the case of Madagascar has been constantly changing and there are deep -rooted structural problems. The rate of contraceptive use in Mauritius could be compared to that in Europe and North America whereas in Madagascar, contraceptives have just recently become a free commodity for women. Thus, it is evident that Madagascar still has a long way to go and needs to restructure its economy.


Madagascar is in the third stage of the demographic transition model and is facing several obstacles in transitioning to the next stage. The biggest challenge faced by Madagascar, as emphasised in the previous sections, is political stability. Madagascar needs to restructure its economy and in order to do this it needs a strong and stable government in place. Employment creation is another milestone that needs urgent attention in Madagascar. The level of education and female labour force participation are important determinants of fertility behaviour. And hence, these require tremendous attention. Regardless, education needs to be a priority for the growth and development of any country. Therefore, a dire need is felt for the government to invest heavily in all areas of population and socio-economic development.


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