Following the internationally recognized democratic presidential and parliamentary elections in 2013, there were hopes and expectations in 2014 of greater security, political stability and positive developments after five years of crisis. Norway is the main bilateral donor to education in Madagascar.

Facts about Madagascar

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Life expectancy
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GNI pr capita
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Percentage poor people (below 1.25$)
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Bilateral assistance million kroner

Bilateral assistance million kroner

Bilateral assistance million kroner

The President and new government came into power in 2014. The African Union (AU) and South African Development Community (SADC)  lifted sanctions and readmitted Madagascar as a member of both organizations. The international community recognized the elections as free and credible, and welcomed the new institutions. Sanctions were subsequently lifted by all countries.

In recent years economic growth has been severely reduced by the political crisis and subsequent economic uncertainty. Also 2014 bore the marks of constrained public-sector resources and a still uncommitted private sector. The country showed some signs of economic improvement, with estimated growth of three per cent and inflation of less than seven per cent in 2014.

Norway stopped all bilateral assistance to Madagascar after the coup d'état in 2009. Many other donors chose to do the same, and aid fell from USD 700 million in 2008 to less than USD 400 million in 2011.

Because of the new political situation and hopes of democratic development, the donors have normalized their bilateral cooperation with the authorities.

Poverty and undernourishment

The political crisis, natural disasters, a locust invasion and growing security problems combined with reduced development assistance have significantly worsened the situation of the civilian population in recent years. The result, according to the World Bank, is that Madagascar has become one of the poorest countries in the world.

The estimated costs of the crisis now exceed USD 8 billion. Eighty per cent of the population live on less than USD 1.25 per day. However, following the election, which took place largely without violence and was regarded as democratic, there is hope of improvement.

Undernourishment in children remains a major problem. Half of all children under the age of five are undernourished, and 65 per cent of households suffer from lack of food security.

Since April 2012 a locust invasion has threatened the basis of existence of 13 million people on Madagascar, nine million of whom earn a living from agriculture. There is a risk that the locust invasion will wipe out crops and pastureland - and thereby the ability of families to provide for themselves. In September 2013 the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO launched a three-year locust control programme designed to prevent further destruction. Norway is contributing NOK 3 million to this programme.

Norwegian development cooperation with Madagascar



Norway's assistance to Madagascar amounted to NOK 62.3 billion in 2014. In addition comes substantial support to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) which is under multilateral management.

Norway is among the biggest donors to education in Madagascar, and has an agreement for funding through three UN organizations: UNICEF, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Food Programme (WFP). Funding for the period 2011–2014 amounted to NOK 137 million,

Norway also contributes to education through the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and supports Digni in its work for inclusive education.

Norway's long-term engagement in the education sector has boosted education in vulnerable areas and enhanced the quality of basic education. This includes teacher education and the development of textbooks based on the local conditions and language, as well as interventions for children who have dropped out of the school system and children with disabilities.

Norway supported the education reform under the Madagascar Action Plan 2007–2012, with roll-out of the reform in twenty school districts. Norway's efforts were concentrated on the priority areas of quality and mother tongue instruction.

As a result of the crisis in 2009, the reform could not be completed. Norwegian support for the education sector continued after the coup, through UNICEF, WFP and ILO. The funding is reported to have helped to substantially reduce the negative impact of the crisis on the educational sector.

Norway has supported activities in the authorities' sector plan for education since 2013. The most recent agreement with UNICEF is for NOK 137 million over a three-year period, with activities distributed among UNICEF, WFP and ILO.  

Since 2013, UNICEF, WFP and ILO have worked together on 39 schools. In 2014, ILO built and equipped 54 new classrooms and two pedagogical centres. A total of 15 860 contract teachers who are hired by local parent associations received pedagogical training. A training module was developed and 888 public sector instructors were trained. Forty thousand children took part in multigrade classes and 1 247 schools received equipment for the food programme.

A mid-term review in 2014 showed that the programme had contributed strongly to upholding the educational system through the crisis. Norway contributed NOK 37.9 million to this programme in 2014.

Norway also supported the work in the field of education of Norwegian NGOs in Madagascar. The Norwegian Mission Society's (NMS) ( partner, the Malagasy Lutheran Church in Madagascar, runs almost 300 schools.

Some Norwegian development assistance has gone to special schools to train teachers for blind and hard of hearing children, and to integrating hard of hearing children into schools for those with normal hearing. Support to the NMS amounted to NOK 9 million in 2014.

Environmental and natural resource management

Madagascar has a unique fauna and flora. Eighty per cent of species are endemic to the island. The crisis of recent years has eroded governance and exerted heavy pressure on nature. Poverty also leads to ruthless overexploitation of tropical timber, minerals, and animals threatened with extinction.

Norwegian support to the environmental sector is channelled through the civil society and managed by both the Embassy Section in Antananarivo and Norad.

The primary objective of the environmental platform Alliance Voahary Gasy (AVG) is to improve climate-related and environmental conditions on Madagascar. As a result of the deterioration in the environmental sector in the wake of the coup in 2009, particularly in connection with illegal logging of tropical timber, the AVG was established as a platform for the Malagasy civil society in this sector.

The platform supports around 30 environmental organizations all over the island. A final evaluation in 2014 concluded that the AVG is an effective mouthpiece for good governance of natural resources and became a significant force in environmental issues during the political crisis period. AVG can point to results in the form of increased awareness of environmental issues in civil society at regional and local level. They have promoted meeting places for the exchange of information and greater transparency on the part of the government and private actors on environmental issues.

The World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) employs Norwegian funding in three areas:

  • establishing effective surveillance systems against deforestation
  • various interventions in collaboration with the local population to reduce deforestation
  • reduction of illegal charcoal production through the introduction of more efficient production methods and alternative sources of energy

A project in partnership with UNESCO is aimed at preserving the Madagascar rainforest. With Norwegian backing, Conservation International (CI) has further developed two areas for activities under the auspices of the UN rainforest programme REDD+. Particular attention is being paid to including the local community in terms of income sharing.

Experience from these two areas will form the basis for recommendations for Madagascar's national REDD+ strategy. CI also contributes technical support to the national REDD+ secretariat.

The ProVert educational programme has also had an environmental profile, with both theoretical and practical teaching about the environment. The educational programme channelled via UNICEF/ILO/WFP has a strong element of climate-consciousness and builds sustainable schools that are can withstand cyclones. The use of timber in school buildings is avoided, and timber in school fittings and fixtures is minimised by using metal substitutes where possible.

Democracy and good governance

Norway contributed along with the EU, Switzerland, Japan, SADC and IOF to the holding of presidential and parliamentary elections in 2013 through UNDP's multi-donor project (PACEM). The agreement has been extended to December 2015, and is also to include local elections. Norwegian contributions have gone to awareness-building campaigns, infrastructure for voter registration in the regions and districts, emergency generators, technical assistance with electronic data collection etc.The international contribution to the holding of the elections was unique in a Malagasy context. The people were able to go freely to the ballots, and there was extensive voter education and information to the general public. PACEM supported the electoral commission technically and financially in the work of ensuring that the elections were carried out in a credible and transparent manner.

Women and gender equality

The goal of the collaboration with the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) since 2007 has been to increase women's political participation in Madagascar. EISA has worked to build competencies and networks and disseminate information. Madagascar's goal is that the proportion of women in politics should be at least 30 per cent. EISA's work with local women's organizations has contributed to filling more important positions in society with women.

A woman was elected president of the Malagasy National Assembly for the very first time in February 2014. However, she had to step down in May the same year, and was replaced by a man. As a result of EISA Madagascar's support, a group of MPs dedicated to gender equality was established in March 2014. NOK 500 000 was contributed to this programme in 2014.


The annual jazz festival Madajazzcar is one of few major national cultural arrangements in Madagascar. Norway has subsidized the festival for the last five years. The purpose of the Norwegian support is to boost the cultural sector of civil society. In addition to the actual concerts, education and exchange form a central part of the festival.

A number of seminars are organized in the course of the festival, for both artists and organisers. There has been Norwegian participation in the festival for the past few years. In 2014 the violinist Adrian Løseth Waade took part. The focus of the jazz festival is on giving women a prominent role. NOK 300 000 was contributed to this programme in 2014.

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Norad supported five Norwegian NGOs wtih local partners in Madagascar. The Norwegian actors are the WWF, the Norwegian Mission Society (NMS) through the umbrella network Digni, the Norwegian Red Cross, the Royal Norwegian Society for Development (Norges Vel) and YWCA-YWCM Global. In 2014, approximately NOK 24 million was channelled to the Norwegian organizations' work in Madagascar in areas such as natural resource management, village development, business development and economic justice. 

Published 28.08.2014
Last updated 02.10.2015