Policies to improve the business climate and rebuild investors’ confidence in Madagascar have been outlined in an Investment Policy Review (IPR) drafted by UNCTAD and discussed at a national workshop on 10 September in the Malagasy capital Antananarivo.
The workshop was opened by Madagascar's Minister of Industry and Private Sector Development Narson Rafidimanana, who said that UNCTAD's report has come at the right time for the country.
While recognizing that foreign direct investment (FDI) can help address gaps in the country's finances, Mr. Rafidimanana acknowledged that its positive impact would not come automatically and that a national investment policy is needed.
"The Government's responsibility is to take ownership of the IPR recommendations and implement them with the support of our development partners," Mr. Rafidimanana said.
Special advisor to the President of Madagascar, Harison Randriarimanana, added: "UNCTAD's report serves as a trigger to spark attention on key issues of importance to Madagascar".
Chantal Dupasquier, Chief of UNCTAD's Investment Policy Review Section, introduced the report, which highlights the extraordinary potential of the country to attract and benefit from FDI, and calls for an increasingly proactive and targeted approach to investment promotion.
While emphasizing the importance of improving the legal and regulatory framework for investment, the report underlines the need to better articulate sector-specific policies to fully tap into this potential.
The report also deals with means of overcoming the challenges in developing infrastructure and entrepreneurship.
A frank and open discussion followed the presentations by UNCTAD staff and involved more than 80 representatives from the public and private sector, civil society and the international development community.
The report received support from the ministers of commerce and livestock. while Pprivate sector representatives emphasized the role that enabling policies could play in enhancing both local and foreign investment.
The report was undertaken by UNCTAD on the request of the Government of Madagascar, who reiterated its commitment during the workshop to pursue the process of validating and implementing its recommendations. The final report will be presented at an intergovernmental meeting in Geneva towards the end of November.
UNCTAD´s Investment Policy Reviews provide an objective evaluation of the country´s legal, regulatory and institutional framework for FDI to attract increased foreign and direct investment, as well as how to maximize the benefits from it.
To date, UNCTAD has completed over 40 Investment Policy Reviews in developing countries and countries whose economies are in transition.
It has supported many of them in their reform processes with technical assistance activities.