Well I guess it was only a matter of time before someone saw that Madagascar was ripe for the picking, and I guess that someone is the UAE. In a time when the international community is supposed to be hands off until an elected democratic government is transparently elected we have somehow created this attractive void to fill for people that apparently do not care what is going on politically within the country. After all, there really could be no better time to make a deal with a government considering how desperate the HAT has been for cash. All you really have to do is wave some money under the nose of Andry Rajoelina and you can have the keys to the kingdom.
It has to make you wonder why they would want to invest so much in Madagascar and why now? What would make a country make an investment knowing the international scorn that it might receive doing business with a non-recognized terrorist government? What kind of things the HAT gave up in order to get them to invest? It scares me to think… but since there is talk of an investment, it is clear to me that the UAE wants to be Andry Rajoelina’s new best friend… especially since no one else wants to play with him.
Apparently the UAE will be investing in all the important, money making sectors of the Malagasy economy:
So since the HAT government has been trying to scrape together money from the sale of a jet, mysterious back taxes and other dubious sources doesn’t this mean that the UAE are going to be providing Madagascar with the vast majority its income? Doesn’t that scare anyone? It certainly scares me. And with such a significant investment in Madagascar, could this not lead into another Daewoo type scenario? According to this article, they are already harvesting land in the Sudan, could Madagascar be the next step?
Critics call it a form of agricultural colonialism. The Saudi agricultural firm Hadco will harvest its first crops on its fields in Sudan. Vegetables, wheat, and fodder from 10,000 hectares will help meet the growing demand for food in Saudi Arabia. Asian countries are also looking for farmland abroad, for example in Mozambique and Madagascar.
I wonder what Hadco will do when it has access to Madagascar? Who knows… but with TIKO gone, there is a huge opening for any company to come in and fill the void that was made when the HAT destroyed it. Perhaps the real reason as to why the UAE are in Madagascar is simply that they want more oil (enter Aramco). Maybe the investments in the various industries are initially just a cover to get an oil deal and will later end up being the hook that keeps the UAE embedded in Madagascar’s economy. Once they provide people with cheap food, oil, hotels, fuel it is going to be almost impossible for anyone to compete with them, especially local businesses. Here is a paragraph from an article in L’Express de Madagascar (link in French):
Apart from staple foods, the Saudi investors have also presented a project for setting up a petroleum refinery. Once such a project in motion, they suggest the possibility to decrease by about 50% the price of fuel. For now, the initiative is at the stage of the compilation of dossiers.(FR)
I really hope nothing comes of this, but knowing how hungry the HAT are for money the deal was probably signed before I even started this post. It almost feels as though the HAT is selling off Madagascar piece by piece… what a shame.