Madagascar is facing economic and environmental challenges. It has lost 95% of its forestry due to logging, which in turn causes natural problems such as flooding. Its waters are slowly becoming devoid of fish, and populations of its wildlife are slowly dwindling. There are, however, some ways in which it is possible the environmental, and in turn, economic situation of Madagascar could be turned around.
One example is through creating a large mining industry. Rio Tinto is a foreign company that is currently drilling in Madagascar for valuable resources. Their business has created 700 jobs for the local people. As well as this, they are undertaking conservation products to compensate for the harmful effects mining has on the environment. They are creating plant nurseries and have promised to replant the forests they remove for their mining once it is finished. This helps to improve the economy with little impact on the environment.
Another alternative solution would be to promote the island as a tourist destination. Mauritius is an island close to Madagascar, with similar wildlife, but despite being far smaller, it is 15 times more wealthy than Madagascar. This is because it has sold itself as a tourist destination, and is reaping the financial benefits. It is possible that Madagascar could do something similar to Mauritius, and once its economic situation has been improved, it could work on addressing its environmental problems. Increased tourism in Madagascar could also result in more outside attention to its current problems.
In Madagascar, a population boom, (53% of the population are under 15 years of age) caused by the introduction of Western medicine, has lead to overfishing, and a decline in fish stock. A large number of Madagascan people depend on fishing to keep their families alive. Because of this, Sea Ventures, a British company, has decided to help improve the situation by creating a marine reserve to help maintain fish stock. This is very important in regard to maintaining jobs and keeping Madagascans alive.
Controlling the Madagascan population is also important, because any more growth in population would increase poverty even further. This can be done through education about contraception methods and family planning programmes. Again, Blue Ventures is working towards this through the introduction of family planning programmes.
Finally, to improve the environmental and economic situation of Madagascar, it is important to educate the population. There currently very high illiteracy rates in Madagascar. If these were raised, it is possible that the population would be more aware of their current situation, and what they can do to improve it.
There are many ways Madagascar can improve its current situation. It will be extremely difficult in many ways, but with awareness and interest in solving the challenges it faces, change will be possible.