Prospects for Madagascar - Breaking the Bonds Term Paper

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¶ … Prospects for Madagascar - BREAKING the BONDS of POVERTY

Dependency Theory vs. Modernization Theory

The Modernization Theory states that a country must first industrialize if it must become modern (Juanico 1999). Based on their experience, rich countries, which advocate the theory, believe that they owe their riches today to the concept. They perceive modernity as bringing the blessings of progress in human life. They interpret the inability of Third-World countries to modernize as fast they can, according to their own experience. Modern societies are secular. This means that their social, political, and economic values are separate from religion. Their agrarian society is converted into an urban community. People in modern or modernistic countries or societies rely on reason to tame and transform nature. They are open to change and are creative. Supporters of this theory agree that economic interdependence between the rich and the poor countries is beneficial in two ways. One is the exchange of material benefits and the other is the impact these times have in helping erode the traditional social values and structures, which impede or delay development (Juanico).Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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Term Paper on Prospects for Madagascar - Breaking the Bonds Assignment

The Dependency Theory explains economic development according to external influences on national development policies (Ferraro 1996). These external influences are political, economic and cultural. It is considered a historical condition, which shapes the world economy in favor of some countries and to the detriment of others. It is a situation where the economy of certain countries is conditioned by the development and expansion of another economy to which it is subject. Dependency characterizes the international system as consisting of two sets of states, namely the dominant/dependent, center/periphery and metropolitan/satellite. It assumes that external forces are of singular importance to the economic activities within the dependent countries or States. The relations between dominant and dependent states are dynamic. The interactions between the two groups reinforce and intensify the unequal patterns. Dependency is deeply rooted in the internationalization of capitalism (Ferraro).

Madagascar is an island nation found in the Indian Ocean (MSN Encarta 2007). It consists of Madagascar Island and many small islands. Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. It was acquired by France in 1896 and gained its full independence in 1960. It measures 587,041 square kilometers with Antananarivo as the largest city and the capital (MSN Encarta).

Religions and Politics

Around 48% of the population recognizes an omnipotent deity and secondary gods (MSN Encarta 2007). These gods include ancient inhabitants of the islands, mythical kings and queens and great ancestors. The Malagasy people observe a universal cult of ancestors and a tradition of lavish funerals and rituals of the dead. Around 49% of the people profess Christianity and 2% adheres to Islam (MSN Encarta). The president consults with church leaders (Hamilton 2003). Christian churches in Madagascar are the Catholic, Anglican, Reformist and Lutheran Churches. The people attend regular services and hold prayer meetings before they start work. They observe Christian theology and use Biblical quotations. Religion is mixed with politics. The first article in its Constitution is about the secularity of government. Madagascar has no political parties but only Church-organized institutions. The President uses the power and the structure of the Church. Lately, however, an ecumenical movement, called the FFKM, called for the independence and separation of politics from religion in Madagascar (Hamilton).

Ethnic Cultural Conflicts

The major ethnic groups in the interior of Madagascar are the Merina or Hova and the related Betsileo (MSN Encarta 2007). The Merina accounts for 29% of the total population, while the Betsileo accounts for 12%. Both descended primarily from migrants from Indonesia in the year 900. The coastal areas of Madagascar are inhabited by peoples of mixed Malayo-Indonesian, Black African, and Arab strains. Among them are Betsimisaraka, Tsimihety, Sakalava, and Antaisaka ethnic groups (MSN Encarta).

These are, however, conflicts among these ethnic groups, such as between the highlanders and the coastal people (Leithead 2002). The worst ethnic violence occurs mostly at the Abbatoir district. The violence has been sporadic and people have died and many are injured. Politicians have been blamed for the political division, which evolved into ethnic clashes. Local authorities have denied the ethnic issue and blamed politics for inventing the issue. In the Abattoir district, stalls run by merina people are destroyed and fights happen almost nightly between ethnic groups. Both sides are armed with guns and grenades. The military and the police do not have the orders or the will to intervene (Leithead).

Agrarian Reform

Madagascar possesses unique ecological characteristics as well as institutional and social realities, which make its land tenure correspondingly unique (ICARRD 2006). Since its independence, Madagascar's juridical framework has been based on State monopoly and private property, attested by title. However, few Malagasy citizens register their lands as required by the Torrens Act. At present, land tenure is in a state of "transition." Individualization and privatization of land have strained traditional land management. The citizens seek help from the State to insure their land rights. But the complexity of legal regulations has been inconsistent with present practical and economic realities. The rift between the need for individual tenure security and the capacity of the government to deliver property titles is an important obstacle to the development of Madagascar. It was only at the end of the 1990s that the State established a participatory direction in the new land policy. In March 2004, the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries introduced the National Land Programme to lift the country from land and property crises. The reform presented radical innovations to move from the principle of State control of untitled land for more than 100 years. It would decentralize land management through community and intercommunity land desks. It is now in the Pilot Phase, wherein the Property and Land Tenure Services Directorate must perform four types of activities. These are reorganization, modernization and computerization of the tenure and topographic information, improvement and decentralization of land management, renovation of land and property regulations, and national programme for training and land tenure specialists. Substantial progress resulted from the Loi de Cadrage on October 17, 2005. The first land certificates were delivered on February 2, 2006. Reform, however, did not develop at the same speed. Among the impediments were follow-up or programme evaluation, the institutional integration of the coordination unit, the role of civil-society in the implementation process, and the financing of decentralized structures. These developments show the importance of the participatory process in the implementation of the land policy. Succeeding measures must guarantee, especially to the marginalized citizens, tenure rights and access to land and natural resources (ICARRD).

Women and Their Status

Official estimates say that women now constitute 37% of paid workers in Sub-Saharan Africa, 20% in South Asia, 35-40% in East and South East Asia, and 30% in Latin America and the Caribbean (BRIDGE 1995). Women wage earners are now as many as men wage earners in many regions. Women earn between 50 and 90% of men's. Women have been confined to the lowest status jobs and have been receiving the lower pay. Women at 78% mainly work in agriculture and the informal sector where they receive limited support services. Men's activities are more diverse. Women also work for longer hours than men at 12-13 hours a week more than men. Certain groups of women are also particularly vulnerable to poverty. These include divorced or deserted women, elderly widows, and young single mothers with children. The traditional systems of social support have been observed to weaken and men are more and more reluctant to enter marriage. All the circumstances together, women find it harder than men to escape poverty (BRIDGE).

Women in the region obtain only half the number of schooling years than men (BRIDGE 2006). Illiteracy for young women between 20 and 24 in Africa and South and West Asia is 40% and 70% for those in older age groups. Unsafe pregnancy and childbirth is the highest cause of death among women in developing countries. More and more women in these countries are also getting infected with the HIV / AIDS virus. In addition, male violence poses as a threat to women's health and well-being. Statistics show that girls are more vulnerable to early death than boys in the region (BRIDGE).

Women likewise suffer disadvantages in the realms of legislation and politics (BRIDGE 2006). Legislation discriminates against women in inheritance, land tenure, marriage and divorce. Women's disadvantages have been traditional. Colonial and post- colonial reforms were in the hands of men. Personal laws and customs restricted women's inheritance rights. Marriage and divorce laws and practices added to women's dependence on men. Even when separated or divorced, women find legal provisions for their provision as ex-wives and for their children limited and difficult to enforce (BRIDGE)

In the political arena, women have been only recently granted the right to vote in many countries (BRIDGE 2006). Women's participation in overall parliamentary work in developing regions has remained low. Finally, democratization and decentralization trends, especially in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, do… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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