Will Madagascar achieve its ambitions?

Position:Poverty Reduction Strategy

On February 13, 2007, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published its "Poverty Reduction Strategy" for Madagascar. The document, interestingly, is basically a reprint of the "Madagascar Action Plan" (MAP) developed by the Office of the President of Madagascar in 2006 with obvious help from the IMF and other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

The February 13, 2007 document follows the January 8, 2007 publication of an in-house "IMF Country Report" on Madagascar.

According to the CIA, Madagascar is one of those countries that has, fairly consistently, followed what is known as the "Washington Consensus," a set of ideas that promote macroeconomic stability for developing countries through substantial financial help and country specific economic program development with an emphasis on privatization and liberalization.The usual focus of the IMF's country reports is to assess how a developing country is doing in terms of the programs the IMF favors.

The MAP cited above sets forth a staggering number of progressive goals for the period 2007 through 2012, which include government reforms; infrastructure investment; a reduction of government participation in the economy; public health; education, and promoting investment.

Both the MAP and the IMF's country report are notably devoid of any mention of the quality of life of Madagascar's consumers. One of the assumptions of the "Washington Consensus" is that good governance leads to foreign investment, which in turn leads to jobs for a country's citizens, which...

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