“Business relations between the Netherlands and Madagascar are generally good, although not very extensive,” said Arne Doornebal of the Netherlands-African Business Council. “Over the past few years we have been working together with the Malagasy Embassy on two programmes aimed at increasing these business relations. In the past editions of Biofach in Nuremberg-Germany, the largest trade fair for organic food products in the world, we brought a group of Malagasy entrepreneurs that jointly participated in a country pavilion: ‘Madagascar – truly authentic.’ This enables them to highlight a united business sector internationally” according to Mr. Doornebal.
Then there is a 3-year programme called New Origins for Sustainable Spices (NOSS), whereby six international companies, active in spice trading, jointly work on improving the quality and the quantity of spices that are sourced from Tanzania and Madagascar. “We often see a mismatch between supply and demand,” Mr. Doornebal explained. “Spices traders in Europe have high expectations on the quality and how the spices are handled. The aim of NOSS is to increase the quantity and quality of spices from Tanzania and Madagascar, by way of knowledge transfer, demonstrations, farmer capacity building and the development of standards.
Currently NOSS, together with the CTHT (Centre Technique Horticole de Tamatave), is operating 3 clove/cinnamon demo farms in eastern Madagascar and training 4 Malagasy spice exporters in food safety and quality control by way of blended learning. Furthermore, the NOSS program maintains a dialogue on quality improvement on sector and exporter level, aiming for a group visit to Madagascar in November to reignite this dialogue and visit potential new suppliers.”
The NABC and the Economic Development Board of Madagascar (www.edbm.mg), the Malagasy Government’s investment promotion agency, have established a strategic partnership which is “essential for the promotion of the spices and essential oils sectors in Madagascar”, according to Andry Ravalomanda, General Manager of the EDBM. “In more than one way, it is a growth lever on which the Malagasy private sector can rely to contract with leading international buyers”.
E-Gouvernance, Major Reforms Under Way
H.E. Mr Jean Omer Beriziky, Ambassador of the Republic of Madagascar accredited to the Kingdom of the Netherlands underlines that “one of the Malagasy Government’s priorities is to improve the business climate and to facilitate investments”.
A major reform has been launched for several years to set up an e-governance system that will lead Madagascar to the digitalization of its public administration. The Reform Program for Administration Efficiency (PREA) is the spearhead of this reform with the mission to developing Malagasy public administration efficiency. Financed by the World Bank in the amount of 140 million dollars, all the changes that the program is willing to accomplish should systematically go through the overhaul of the civil status to set up a unique identification system.
One part of these reforms will be carried out under the Malagasy Identity Digital Governance Project (PRODIGY). The PRODIGY plans to award a unique identifier number to physical and legal entities. This will facilitate information management on citizens, but also it will avoid any kind of corruption that may occur in the public sector. Through the unique identifier, social welfare will be more spontaneous and easier.
This would improve as well the public service for the benefit of Malagasy citizens, national and foreign investors.
As regards investment facilitation, the EDBM is equally undertaking a digital shift to assist economic operators. With the support of the World Bank, the PRODIGY project, and the Digital Governance Unit (UGD) under the aegis of the Presidency of the Republic of Madagascar, EDBM is dematerializing the company creation process through the implementation of the digital platform www.orinasa.edbm.mg.
Eventually, the other services of the EDBM’s One stop shop, dedicated for investors will be equally available on the platform namely visas, work permits, resident’s cards, specific approvals, and authorizations, etc.
The Ambassador Jean Omer Beriziky (email@example.com) encourages investors and operators in the Benelux countries to develop their businesses in his promising country, suitable for all markets thanks to its huge and untapped potentialities among them agribusiness, energy, ITC, infrastructure, tourism, mines, etc.