From industry to informal economy: The impact of Madagascar’s political crisis on the lives and jobs of Malagasys

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Berthine is a 26 year old single mother of a young girl. She worked at a textile factory, sewing zips and collars onto clothes for international export. When the factory closed in 2009 there was no where else to look for a job. So she went to work on the street selling fruit juice.

In 2009 when a former DJ Andry Rajoelina  led a coup against Marc Ravalomanana, the international community condemned the move and imposed sanctions on Madagascar. The country was suspended from the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) which had enabled duty-free, quota-free access for some goods to the U.S. market.

This led to the collapse of industry, most significantly a vibrant textile industry. Thousands of workers were forced to search any type of employment that would sustain them.

Four years on and Berthine still hasn’t found a stable job. She says

On a good day like today, when it’s hot I just can make enough money to get by.

The crisis has spread far wider than the manufacturing industry. Economics graduate Ilotsoa Ravonjy describes the wasted potential of her and her friends.

Haleh Bridi the World Bank Country Director for Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles believes job creation should be the primary focus for the new government.

After 4 years of sanctions and factory closures people in Madagascar are hoping the elections will jump start the economy and the new government will bring with it investment and opportunity.