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Madagascar News Forums Food for thought the domination of the Merina oligarchy Reply To: the domination of the Merina oligarchy


In recovering its sovereignty, the Great Island faces an imperative problem: to conquer its economic independence. Notably by industrialization in order to meet ever increasing needs, such as increasing individual incomes and making better and decent the standard of living of the population. In short, to raise the standard of living of everyone.
With nearly 5.5 million inhabitants, half of whom are under 20 years old and an overall income of 25,000 CFA francs per year per person, the prospect seems encouraging, according to economist Désiré Robson. Provided that “the human labor potential has the means to develop productivity”. However, account must be taken of the fact that Madagascar is a predominantly rural country (86.5% of the population) and that in 1958, out of an overall production of 130 billion CFA francs, the industrial production is only 10, 5 billion and represents only an added value of 3.5 billion.
More alarming is the situation of foreign trade where consumer goods account for 75% of total imports. Among these goods, foodstuffs are in a good position “with a more industrious spirit, we would have been able to produce locally at prices and qualities comparable to those of imported goods”. It should be said that a wide variety of articles is offered to the consumer, whose choice is guided not only by the utility, but also by “the attraction of the best presentation and the false guarantee of the high price”.
This leads the economist to assert that a great effort must be made to educate the buyer so that he chooses the products both for their attractive appearance and for their serious quality. “Goods whose prices are not necessarily high and manufacturing not necessarily foreign. “A task that awaits local industries.
At that time the number of companies was over 500. However, only about thirty employed more than 250 employees, and industrial production was provided by a limited number of modern, relatively concentrated companies. “It is delicate to appreciate in its totality given the multitude of semi-artisanal activities not working in series. “
Thus, industry is not a great outlet for the unemployed. Its modernization consists in using machines that are precisely meant to supply and help the workforce. “Industrial activities mainly concern rice mills, light industries. Investment per job is relatively low: it is in the range of one to 1.5 million. “
However, the integrated industry processing agricultural products offers, indirect or induced, two to five times more jobs than they use directly: for example, 2 000 employees in sugar mills correspond to 7 000 to 8 000 Other persons used since the production of sugarcane.
In 1961 according to the statistics of the Ministry of Labor, the number of industrial employees stood at more than 1,700. The most important enterprises, in descending order, are sugar mills, mills, wood and furniture, textiles and mechanics. Studies dating back to the period reveal a structure of employment where the labor force occupies the indisputable preponderance. There are 55 to 60% of the total workforce, mainly by tobacco (67%), fatty substances (73%), sugar mills (65%). On the other hand, specialized workers are especially noted in the mechanical and electrical industries, textiles and chemistry.
As of January 1, 1961, the labor force is estimated at 6,570 employers, including 440 women; 186,525 employees, including 34,150 women; 6,525 unsatisfied job seekers including 1,615 women; 2,350,000 unpaid family workers and self-employed persons, including 1,250,000 women.