President of Madagascar on the economic crisis and global poverty

(Taken from video of webcast here.)

The Malagasy president Marc Ravalomanana weighs in the economic crisis and global poverty at the UN General Assembly Meeting. Here is an excerpt from his speech:
"We are facing a global food crisis, a global economic crisis and a global security crisis with war and political hostilities spreading throughout the globe. In spite of efforts to reduce the divisions between the rich and the poor, the progress we have made so far on the MDGS has fallen short of the targets we established [...] These global crisis are threatening to push the MDGS into the margins of our agenda. If we allowed this to happen, it would be a major mistake..."
he says that the crises need to be resolved and merited a concerted urgent effort from all but adds:
"What I do not understand, however, is that these challenges sometimes offer reasons for countries to abdicate on their promises of doubled aid for education, health and infrastructure"

Benin, Gabon and Namibia officials also urged the assembly to not lose focus on the MDGs.

On a related note, for all the critics about Sen. Obama not having passed enough bills in Congress, let's remember that Obama was a major factor in getting the Congress to approve the Global Poverty Act, a motion for the US to participate in the MDGs (in french here).

I have mixed feelings about this issue and MDGs in general. I understand the will to have a global strategy to tackle specific critical issues but reminding donors of their prior commitment in the midst of the greatest economic crisis in decades seems..odd. Additionally, I am of the opinion that massive international aid is definitely not a sustainable way to reduce global poverty.

Let me veer on a tangent rant here for a moment: If one can summoned such a massive amount of money in a short period of time, this begs two questions:
1) you as a taxpayer surely want to be able to trace and have a say about how that money will be used and recovered. That is the "best-practice" guidelines for all NGOs, I think it should certainly apply to banking institutions in need.
2) Is there really a believable rationale for saying that we could not do more and act more rapidly for the victims of hurricane because of lack of funds ? Were those less urgent crises or funding was really not the issue ? ( rant over).

I am not just re-spitting the populist discourse here. Heck, my dream is that one day, a financial institution giant will also rise from the corner of Analakely. But if it is agreed that some sort of regulation is necessary to stabilize markets and that government should intervene when the sh***t hits the fan for wall street, then I think it is reasonable to ask Wall street to do its part and provide global social stability when they get their acts together. It's called responsible capitalism. Maybe that was what Marc Ravalomanana was getting at in his speech. He probably could start that in his own backyard.


  1. Definitely for the longer term we need countries to contribute teachers and beef up the education systems of the third world. A lot of the problems here in Zambia would be sorted out if the education and healthcare systems were better. Then people know what opportunities they have to improve their lot.

    I agree with you, dropping food packets here and there is not going to help us in the long-term.

  2. @Mosi That is the conundrium, isn't it ? The two areas that need the most urgent injection of funds are also the one least likely to have short term payback (finance wise). Unless we make education/ health care somehow profitable, it's hard to foresee improvement wihtout aid in those areas.

  3. My optimism for Madagascar's future is not unfounded. We are moving aggressively to attract friends and to create strategic alliances with governments, global financial institutions, and private investors throughout the globe.
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