The 4th Madagascar Economic Forum took place in the Boeny region 23rd – 25th August 2017 in the city of Mahajanga. Hosted under the theme “Fishing and aquaculture, a pillar for economic development”, the event brought together the Malagasy private sector, foreign investors and COMESA Secretariat to market country’s potential in investments and trade sectors.
Madagascar is a member of COMESA Free Trade Area and has also signed the Tripartite FTA agreement in July 2017. Its exports to regional markets however remain low. In 2015, Malagasy exports to COMESA Market was evaluated at 44,02 million USD which is only 3.51% of Madagascar total export.
In a show of support to the country, COMESA Secretariat participated in the forum to share information on the opportunities that exist in the COMESA regional Market, the Tripartite Markets. This is in addition to assisting Madagascar in increasing its contribution to intra-regional trade through economic transformation process and infrastructure development.
The COMESA team included Senior Private Sector Development Officer Mr. Innocent Makwiramiti, Senior Transport Economist Mr Bernard Dzawanda, and International Cooperation Officer Mr. Julien Razafintsalama.
COMESA is keen to help the country create and strengthen awareness of country’s private sectors on regional integration and regional markets opportunities. This includes promoting its contribution to intra-regional trade by identifying ways and strategies to develop the port of Mahajanga. This will contribute to intra-regional exchange and international maritime transport.
During a meeting with the government officials and the private sector representatives, the COMESA delegation promised to facilitate Madagascar’s participation in the regional trade through business linkages, private sector development, networking and collaborating with key stakeholders to improve the latter’s contribution to intra-regional trade.
The private sector requested COMESA to facilitate the export of agricultural products such as maize, beans, and fruits to markets beyond the region by providing adequate facilities to meet the international standards.