Madagascar is one of the world’s largest islands, but also one of the poorest. AFD has been a partner of the country for 70 years, where it focuses its action on poverty reduction and economic development.
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The busy area of Ambodivona, Madagascar
AFD and Madagascar: Developing the island’s economic potential and preserving the environment
The busy area of Ambodivona, Madagascar

Promoting sustainable urban planning

The busy area of Ambodivona, Madagascar

Promoting sustainable urban planning

In Madagascar, cities provide five times more employment than rural areas. But they need to address the major challenge of population growth: over the next 20 years, half of Madagascar’s population will be urban. However, urban sprawl is currently not controlled. It causes insecurity, squalor and extremely precarious conditions in slums.

AFD focuses on an integrated vision of the city and all its functions: live, circulate, work, consume. We are helping the ministry responsible for infrastructure relieve congestion in the capital and ease traffic flow. These measures facilitate economic activity and reduce air pollution. 

At the same time, we are implementing an extensive sanitation and water resources management program to protect the population against flood risks and improve environmental health. This project will benefit 700,000 residents in Antananarivo, who are currently living in flood-prone areas in alarming conditions. 

Improving agricultural production and preserving the environment

Women working on plots of rainfed rice, Madagascar

Improving agricultural production and preserving the environment

Madagascar’s agricultural production remains far too limited compared to the huge potential of its biodiversity. The island needs to import between 200,000 and 500,000 tons of cereals a year, which accounts for up to 15% of its needs. It also has to face a reduction in its natural resources and the erosion of its arable land.

We are promoting agriculture in harmony with the environment – agroecology – by strengthening professional organizations and developing agricultural practices which are both efficient and save on inputs. This project benefits over 150,000 farmers.

At the same time, we are taking action against deforestation. The island’s exceptional resources (precious stones and minerals, precious woods, etc.) arouse cupidity and their exploitation is often destructive to the environment. Since 2008, AFD has been managing a Holistic Forest Conservation Program in partnership with NGOs to stem deforestation and guarantee a future for local communities

Getting back to quality education and training

Young girls at the Amoronimania public school , Madagascar

Getting back to quality education and training

After a decade of improvement, the quality of education has been deteriorating for almost ten years. Some 1.4 million children are out of school, teachers are poorly trained and poorly supervised, and vocational training provision is seriously lagging behind the real needs of the labor market. This situation is a particular cause of concern in rural areas.

AFD operates at every level in the education system – primary, secondary and vocational education – to develop the potential of young people and give them access to decent employment. We finance training for teachers and officials from the Ministry of Education, as well as equipment for schools. We structure vocational training on the basis of high-potential economic sectors: construction industry, tourism and IT. 

Supporting the private sector

Man working for the company Label O Bois, Madagascar

Supporting the private sector

SMEs are key actors in Madagascar’s economy and were particularly strong during the crisis of 2009-2013. 

AFD supports them for their financing needs and facilitates their access to credit. The ARIZ guarantee tool allows AFD to cover between 50 and 75% of the credit risk and thereby encourage banks to allocate loans to small businesses. 

We are also financing a remote banking program to improve access for populations, particularly rural dwellers, to all financial services. In Madagascar, 46% of inhabitants have a telephone, 10% use payment services and… 5.7% have a bank account.

We are increasingly working with large companies in Madagascar. We help them sell their goods on the international market. Exports are a real asset for the country. Over 1,500 products are currently sold outside the island’s borders. 

Supporting NGOs

Nadia Raharinaivo, a coordinator from Hotelin Jazakely in the Manarintsoa Center, Nutri'zaza, Madagascar

Supporting NGOs

Madagascar has the lowest development criteria in the world: Human Development Indicator (HDI), access to healthcare, school enrolment rate, as well as maternal and child health. With $22 per capita, Official Development Assistance also remains very low. 

NGOs are working in the field to improve living conditions for the population of Madagascar. They provide practical solutions in deprived neighborhoods, in both cities and the most remote rural communities. 

AFD supports their actions. Between 2015 and 2016, we financed 23 NGO projects. A whole host of sectors are concerned: rural development, social and vocational integration, wastewater treatment, health, education, human rights and governance. 

In 2007, we set up the Sectoral Innovation Facility for NGOs (FISONG), with the aim of providing more effective support for the work of these organizations. The objective: take into account their specific characteristics, call on their capacity for innovation, create synergies between AFD and NGOs.

years of partnership between AFD and Madagascar
million euros for ongoing projects

With its 24 million inhabitants and a surface area of some 590,000 km², Madagascar is one of the world’s largest islands. It is located in the southwest Indian Ocean and is separated from Africa by the Mozambique Channel. It is also one of the poorest countries in the world: over 90% of the population lives on less than $2 a day.

Madagascar has a particularly rich environment and exceptional biodiversity: over 80% of its plant and animal species are endemic. It is also one of the most vulnerable ecological systems to climate change, environmental risks and natural disasters. 

Madagascar has suffered from political instability for several years. The repeated crises have hampered development, particularly in infrastructure and public services. Yet the island has a number of industrial sectors with high added value, such as agro-industry, textiles, new technologies, tourism and craft industries. 

AFD has been operating in Madagascar for 70 years, where it works to fight poverty and support economic development. Since 2016, it has also been working on strengthening decentralized local authorities and improving the functioning of the justice system.

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Funding type


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  • Education
  • Employment and Shared Prosperity
  • Forests and Biodiversity
  • Health
  • Hunger and Food
  • Inequalities
  • Infrastructure
  • Poverty
  • Sustainable Cities
  • Water and Sanitation

Funding type

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  • Delegation of European Union Funds
  • Grant
  • Sovereign Concessional Loan


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Evaluation document

AFD-funded Resident Technical Assistance

Since the CICID (Inter-ministerial Committee for International Co-operation and Development) meeting in 2005, sectoral capacity-building now falls under AFD’s responsibility/remit. At the same time, technical assistance has become an ...
Nov 2007
Research document

Does family size hinder family living standards? Evidence from a quasi-experiment in Madagascar

In this paper we try to identify the causal impact of fertility on household welfare in Madagascar using gender of the two first-born children as a source of exogenous variation. ...
Dec 2018
Research document

Waste, how much does it cost?

The French Development Agency (AFD), along with Le Mans University, the Gevalor Association, Urbananalyse, and ALBWaste, conducted the ORVA2D (Organisation for Waste Recycling in Developing Cities) research program, aimed ...
Aug 2018
Research document

An Application of the Alkire-Foster’s Multidimensional Poverty Index to Data from Madagascar: Taking Into Account the Dimensions of Employment and Gender Inequality

In this study, we build what we call the Malagasy Multidimensional Poverty Index (MALAMPI), which is an augmented-MPI. Here, in addition to the standard MPI dimensions (health, education and living ...
Apr 2017