01/23/2015 : Ambassador Yamate met with Prime Minister Ravelonarivo at his office at Mahazoarivo Palace in Antananarivo today
01/14/2015 : Remarks by the Ambassador Following Credential Ceremony.
Amb. Robert Yamate presented a copy of his credentials to Foreign Affairs Minister Arisoa Lala Razafitrimo today in Antananarivo.
01/05/2014 : Nationals of Madagascar will become eligible for the H2 visa program
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.