Whether you want to know the best garment manufacturing companies in Madagascar or you are just looking for information on the state of the economy of the country, you can find all of this and more in this article. You will learn all about the garment industry in Madagascar and how it is affecting the lives of its citizens. You will also learn about the COVID-19 initiative, which is set to disrupt the garment and textile industries in the country.
1 Children produce mica in Madagascar
Among the many industries in Madagascar, mica mining is not without its shortcomings. One of the biggest problems is the lack of access to health and education services. This is particularly true in the south, where half of the country’s population is in urgent need of food assistance. The situation is aggravated by poor rainfall, which affects 16 of the 22 regions in the country.
The study also found that a large proportion of the children in the mica mines have respiratory problems. They carry heavy loads and perform tedious tasks. There are also reports of young girls being sexually exploited at mica mining sites.
The industry is not only inundated with child labor, but it’s also plagued with unethical working conditions. For instance, most of the mica miners in southern Madagascar don’t have a diverse diet, and they have to work to compete with other mica miners.
The mica supply chain is a good example of how a small handful of powerful players can take advantage of their status to exploit the disadvantaged. While a number of NGOs have been working to raise awareness about the issue, few companies are taking the necessary steps to improve the safety of children and their families.
A new study from the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) is shedding light on the nitty-gritty of mica mining. The study is the product of a year-long investigation conducted by the non-profit organization. It was commissioned by Terre des Hommes and examines the role of children in the mica mining industry.
2 COVID-19 disrupted the textile and garment industries
During the outbreak of COVID-19, the textile and garment industries in Madagascar suffered massive disruptions. The pandemic slammed global value chains, and inflicted economic shocks. It affected garment and accessory manufacturers worldwide.
The global fashion industry could consider implementing principles of equity and sustainability to protect workers. These industries are also facing challenges regarding environmental pollution.
The Study on Decent Work presents recommendations to improve working conditions and promote full integration into the industry. It also pays attention to the situation of women and young people in the supply chain. The report will provide guidance to stakeholders and constituents.
The study identifies concrete measures to enhance social protection and improve working conditions in Madagascar. It also analyzes current employment data. This study is a roadmap for the development of public policies.
The study is a collaboration between the European Commission and the International Labour Organisation. It was launched during a workshop in Geneva. The workshop was attended by more than 100 representatives from trade unions, specialized ministries, researchers and professional training institutes. The workshop identified specific actions to promote decent work in the textile sector.
The workshop also highlighted the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach to promote decent work. It facilitated identification of concrete actions to be taken by the government and the private sector. Among them were the establishment of screening facilities and the formation of a national network of social dialogue and labour relations.
3 Conditions of work are often poor
Despite being one of the poorest countries in the world, Madagascar has achieved significant economic growth in the last decade. However, the country faces serious challenges related to major inequality, poverty, and environmental degradation. The country is also very exposed to climate change, deforestation, and disease.
Madagascar’s security sector is weak and corrupt. In recent years, there has been an increase in abuses by security forces. The security forces are often involved in political turmoil, and the military has played a role in unconstitutional power transitions.
The security sector has always been vulnerable to political instability. As a result, successive heads of state have politicized the sector. This has affected the effectiveness of the system.
A lack of credible electoral processes has led to many problems. The hegemonic regimes elected in run-offs tend to install authoritarian governance practices.
The security sector is plagued with corruption and lack of equipment. A large portion of the population is unemployed and living on less than $3.10 per day. There is also a shortage of basic household assets.
A large portion of the economy is dependent on imports. The country earns most of its revenues from customs duties on imports and VAT on imports. Its main trading partners are the United States, France, and India.
The garment industry has been the main driver of growth in the Malagasy economy. However, due to the demand shock induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, many clothing manufacturers have closed down. This will leave many low-skilled workers without jobs and will plunge them into poverty and deprivation.
4 200,000 complementary jobs are expected
During a period of strong growth, Madagascar has made significant progress in the fight against poverty. However, the country faces several structural constraints that limit its economic development.
These include the lack of decentralization, which undermines the functioning of basic administrative structures. It also creates a difficult environment for business.
Although the government has introduced free industrial zones to revive exports, local firms are confronted with numerous constraints. In addition, loans secured by letters of credit and guarantees are difficult to access.
Another constraint is the geographical isolation of the country. As a result, trade with regional bodies is limited. While a number of cooperation agreements have been signed, they are still in progress.
Another constraint is the lack of political stability. The country has experienced recurrent political crises. These have weakened the country’s judicial system.
There is little transparency in declared assets of elected officials. This makes it difficult for investors to conduct business in Madagascar.
Moreover, foreign companies are frequently targeted by tax authorities for nuisance lawsuits. They are also subject to tax assessments that are not properly enforced.
The country’s financial markets are relatively rudimentary. There are no legal measures in place to cap campaign funds. The government has promised to update the business environment.
The state-owned enterprises are a major constraint. The country has identified more than 50 public enterprises for privatization. This includes the production of textiles, wood, sugar and beverages.
5 Child labor in the garment industry is concentrated in Yangon State
Increasingly, the garment industry is attracting child workers from the rural fringes. In China, the industry’s biggest producer, there are more than six million children working in the industry. These children work at a rate of more than 15 hours a day, and sometimes in hazardous conditions.
In India, the country’s garment industry is the second largest provider of employment, after agriculture. The sector employs 40 million people directly and indirectly. It has become a focal point for corporate social responsibility practices. The country’s overall textile exports were estimated to be $40 billion in 2015-16.
There’s a lot of competition among manufacturers to attract the best talent. In some places, sweatshops break the work process into simple, repetitive steps. The industry’s most enticing feature is the ability to earn a high wage. In Bangladesh, garment workers earn an average of US$94 a month, according to an Asia Floor Wage Alliance report.
Across the globe, the garment industry is a major employer of child labor. In Thailand, for example, the industry is dominated by small and medium-sized garment manufacturers. In American Samoa, Vietnamese workers were beaten routinely by factory guards.
The ILO reports 168 million child workers worldwide. Some estimates say tens of millions more are at risk. The International Labour Organization has launched an impressive number of initiatives to combat the problem. These include local initiatives to boost compliance with international standards, and to advocate for change.
6 Global competition will be tough
Despite the recent influx of foreign investment in Madagascar, its garment manufacturing sector faces tremendous challenges. This includes the lack of political stability. Andry Rajoelina, the newly elected president of Madagascar, has failed to improve civil rights and civil liberties in his country. Moreover, the lack of transparency in regulatory decisions has created a hostile environment for doing business in Madagascar.
The country has a market culture, but it is still faced with a number of structural constraints. These include high levels of poverty and disease, geographic isolation, and climate change. The state is also involved in many economic activities, which contribute to a lack of competition.
Madagascar’s banking system, however, remains profitable. Four banks hold 88% of total deposits. The banking sector comprises about 27% of GDP. It is one of the top performers in sub-Saharan Africa. But banks are reluctant to finance foreign trade and working capital. The government has set up free industrial zones to revive exports. Imports of equipment and materials can be imported without customs duties.
In order to address issues such as illicit trafficking in natural resources, deep reforms are needed. These reforms can help the Malagasy economy become more industrialized. A comprehensive economic reform must take into account the rule of law.
In addition, the government must make improvements in its civil rights and corruption policies. It must strengthen the independence of other institutions, and it must increase transparency in regulatory decisions. The country’s political system is characterized by a winner-takes-all nature. The recent legislative election revealed this. It gave the regime a majority in several important institutions.
Henry Pham (Pham Quang Anh), CEO of DONY Garment
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