Relations between the two countries have traditionally been friendly, as attested by the German-Malagasy Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Trade signed in 1883. However, the coup in Madagascar in 2009 and the severe political and economic crisis that endured until 2013 caused Germany to briefly suspend its development cooperation. This was resumed in 2014.
Following the country’s return to democracy, economic growth recovered to a relatively modest level. However, ongoing problems with corruption paired with high population growth mean 75% of the population live below the poverty line, while 85% have no access to electricity. The crisis triggered by the pandemic has in part exacerbated these difficulties.
Madagascar is interested in increased activity by international investors and is also keen to enhance economic relations with Germany. Germany is currently one of the largest markets for products from Madagascar, the focus here being on agricultural products. Germany exports to Madagascar are less significant but on the whole the volume of foreign trade has been rising in recent years.
Bilateral development cooperation, which has traditionally enjoyed high priority, focuses in the field of environmental protection on the preservation of Madagascar’s unique biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources in the energy and agricultural sectors. Germany is the third-largest bilateral donor and the biggest donor in the environmental sector, also supporting decentralisation and anti-corruption efforts. In 2020, Germany provided Madagascar with assistance and oxygen concentrators to help the country deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cultural relations with Madagascar are nurtured by the work of the Goethe-Zentrum – the Cercle Germano-Malagasy (CGM) – whilst also being maintained through academic contacts. The CGM helps spread the German language and has for decades been the organiser of a wide range of events and a recognised and highly regarded player in Madagascar’s cultural life, particularly in the capital Antananarivo.