Foreign Investors: Failing Grade in Spite of Inflow

Even though Madagascar is ostracized by the international community, foreign investors keep coming in! Camille Vital did not expressly say it but it is like that when he received at the Mahazoarivo Palace, yesterday morning, a delegation of the South Korean Company HC Hamchang specialized in energy production. According to the communiqué reporting the meeting, this company wants to invest in Madagascar.

While submitting a copy of his project, the CEO of the Project announced that he will start with the creation of a training center to ensure availability of a competent workforce. After the Saudis of the fabulously rich prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, the Indians, the Chinese Wisco, the Libyans and the Pakistani, now it is the South Koreans who come in. in the next coming days and months, more still will come. With the exception of Wisco, to which the Transitional governments have officially allocated the iron deposit of Soalala, this whole wonderful crowd is just in their exploration phase.
It would be demagogic to say that these potential investors come because they feel that they can trust the current government. Perhaps they did not come earlier because of
Marc Ravalomanana’s legendary bulimia of monopolizing everything. The case of Alwaleed bin Talal is quite significant in that regard: after having been snubbed the first time he came, he returned quickly as soon as the departure of former President of the Republic.

These businessmen are only exploring. If not, they are getting ready for the starting line once the crisis is over. Regarding the crisis, hopes are high because inflow of operators turns out to be a positive sign to get out of the crisis.

They would not invest several dozens of million dollars for travels and stays as well as gifts here and there to please the authorities, if they did not have serious clues that there will soon be a return to political stability. In that respect, and only in that one, we can rejoice in the inflow of foreign investors. But for the rest, let’s stop to not give false hopes to an already distraught population. Remember the terrible disillusion caused by Alwaleed.

The day after he swiftly visited Madagascar, a
HAT member has prematurely celebrated by bringing a bottle of whisky to the media. But instead of the $5 billion that were significantly expected, the Saudi prince only accepted 1 small millions of dollars for social works. Since then, nothing. And that, despite the talks filled with promises afterwards to assuage the big disappointment. The big Hotel of Ivato, which was told entrusted to the Saudi group, remains vacant or occupied by big cockroaches and rats.

The prince, who by far is the wealthiest of all the potential investors, has until now not materialized anything, we can even expect more from the others. Instead of just being glad with the attractiveness of the country (and the government?), our current administration should ask the population for more patience. Decisions regarding investments cannot be made instantly.

And as to making decisions about recruiting poor young Malagasies, sometimes it will take long, or even very long. If these leaders truly care about the future of Madagascar by declaring that they support the materialization of any investment projects, they should make every effort to abbreviate the transition. If not, the beginning of the Fourth Republic might turn out to be as bad as the previous one which, due to accumulation of economic problems, has encouraged the rapid downfall of the first President of the Third Republic, Albert Zafy, and the hopeless return of the one who was condemned at the 13 Mai Place.

Another but not the least risk, is the greed of the leaders of the government who want to stay forever in power in order to get as rich as possible, including greed towards potential investors. Whether the investors play the game by getting in return huge tax prerogatives and other advantages that the Malagasy leaders will find hard to get rid of, given that the agreements are made based on the kind of convention that they used during the transition of Norbert Ratsirahonana for
Marc Ravalomanana’s Tiko; or the potential investors are annoyed and decide to cross Madagascar out of their lists.

Without any judgment about the mere intent of former Minister of Telecommunications, Augustin Andriamanananoro, the public opinion will wonder on whose behalf he led the South-Korean delegation to the Prime Minister. Did he find this group himself? Or, is it because he has become the special advisor of the President of the
HAT, has he now the mission to invite foreign investors into the country? On the face of it, it is not wrong per se. but is that the role of the Transition?

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