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  • PCV 08292014

    08/29/2014 : 32 new Peace Corps Volunteers were sworn-in to service by the U.S. Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Susan Sawhill Riley

  • President Obama receiving Malagasy President Rajaonarimampianina

    08/06/2014 : TOAST REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT U.S.-AFRICA LEADERS SUMMIT DINNER

  • 2013 International Religious Freedom Report for Madagascar

    07/30/2014 : 2013 International Religious Freedom Report for Madagascar

  • USAID held a seminar in Antananarivo to inform potential exporters about next steps regarding the AGOA

    07/11/2014 : USAID held a seminar in Antananarivo to inform potential exporters about next steps regarding the AGOA

 

Madagascar’s continued failure to restore democracy, uphold internationally-recognized human

rights treaties, and to address serious violations of the rule of law, has resulted in President

Barack Obama’s decision not to restore the country’s eligibility for benefits under the Africa

Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for 2013. Mali and Guinea Bissau—two other countries

which, like Madagascar, were also suspended from the African Union after unconstitutional

transfers of power—were also excluded from the program this year. AGOA provides tax-free

access to American markets to countries that govern democratically, protect the rights of their

citizens, and respect the rule of law.

“We continue to be alarmed by the current regime’s lack of respect for some of the most

universally accepted principles,” said U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Eric Wong. “Reports by

the United Nations and other respected international organizations have highlighted the degree to

which the human rights situation in Madagascar has continued to deteriorate. We have recently

been reminded that the world will not allow illegitimate leaders to justify their misrule by

misapplying notions of sovereignty, patriotism, and law. One must be freely elected and govern

well, in order to qualify for AGOA. One must respect international law and contribute to

regional security, to take one’s place among the legitimate leaders of the world. Recent actions

to restrict the press freedoms of specific journalists, detentions since 2009 of political enemies

without trial or due process, and reports of civilians in the south being raped or summarily

executed while their villages are burnt to the ground—these are but a few of the many examples

that underline that human rights have not improved in Madagascar.”

The United States conducts a review each year to examine whether each country already eligible

for AGOA benefits has met, or made "continual progress" during the year, toward meeting

AGOA's eligibility criteria, which include establishment of a market-based economy, rule of

law, economic policies to reduce poverty, protection of internationally recognized human rights

and worker rights, and efforts to combat corruption. The interagency review also examines

whether circumstances in ineligible countries have improved sufficiently to warrant making them

eligible for AGOA benefits. Since the coup d'état in March 2009, Madagascar's performance on

nearly all of these factors has not satisfied eligibility requirements.

Despite the removal of AGOA benefits for Madagascar, the United States continues to provide

more aid to the Malagasy people than any other nation. The United States Agency for

International Development (USAID) is investing over $70 million (157.8 billion ariary) each

year in the next generation of the country, through health, food, and emergency services

programs. The Peace Corps has over 130 volunteers currently living and working in some of the

poorest and most remote regions of the country. The United States is also bringing innovations

to Madagascar with a new million dollar cultural center slated to open soon.

AGOA was signed into law by President Clinton in May 2000, with the objectives of expanding

U.S. trade and investment with sub-Saharan Africa, stimulating economic growth, promoting a

high-level dialogue on trade and investment-related issues, encouraging economic integration,

and facilitating sub-Saharan Africa's integration into the global economy.