Despite a troubled macroeconomic and political environment, Madagascar possesses a fairly diversified, dynamic economic fabric in comparison to other countries with a similar level of development. This national particularity undoubtedly explains the country’s thriving social business sector. A study undertaken by AFD lists close to 90 projects2 that meet the broad definition of a social business, i.e., organisations (of all types) whose priority is to address a social problem and who aim to be financially self-sustainable.
What is the key driver of social business in Madagascar?
In a country with over two thirds of the population living in poverty and with little in the way of essential government services (due to serial political crises), non-state actors attempt to come up with alternatives in the hope of offering the population better living conditions.
We are referring here to organisations that are part of civil society – not only NGOs, but social business projects as well, which have a long history in Madagascar. Many of these existed before Muhammad Yunus coined the term “social business”.
The projects covered are on average 10 years old and over a third have existed for more than 15 years.
Nearly half of all such projects (46%) were initiated by NGOs that wished to generate their own revenue to finance their development rather than being entirely dependent on public funding.
What are the key feactures of social business projects in Madagascar?