Friday April 19, 2019
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Indo-Madagascar Connection

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Madagascar
Image source: blogspot.com

by Aurosikha Priyadarshini

We all have come across the name Madagascar either in movies, school textbooks. And who does not know about the famous Madagascar movie. Everyone does, but is that the only identity? Do we really know what is its origin and from where it has come from? The most amazing fact about this country is that it has geographical, economic and social-cultural relations with India.

Let me discuss it in fragments.

Discovery: The original name of Madagascar is the Republic of Madagascar. It is the fourth-largest island in the world. Besides, it is the poorest countries of the world with diverse flora and fauna. As per the current estimation, its population is over 20 million. Madagascar along with India split from Africa and South America and then from Australia and Antarctica. This was the result of the movement of the Earth’s crust. India crashed into Asia and Madagascar has been on its own for the past million years. Madagascar remained maroon in the Indian Ocean. The country’s diversity is a result of its geographic lineage.

Location: Madagascar is situated in the south-western Indian Ocean and spanning the Mozambique Channel, covering an area of 587,041 sq.km. It is one of the beautiful islands of the world with unique and diverse species of flora and fauna.

Political Relation: The devastation in Madagascar caused due to tropical cyclone ‘Haruna’ in 2013 was not looked away by India. The government of India provided financial assistance of US $ 100,000 as a disaster relief.

Economic Relation: As earlier mentioned, Madagascar has total population of over 20 million; half of the population consists of people of Indian origin. Some of the Indian people have permanently settled there and some are temporary citizens. The Indian community in Madagascar plays a significant role in economic development of the country. The Indians by and large trade there and their contribution to the GDP growth of the country is significant. The trade relation between India and Madagascar has been growing. Madagascar is rich in mineral resources like Graphite, Nickel, Gold, Oil and other precious and semi-precious stones and hardwood. The country’s export of its minerals contributes to the growth. There is a steady growth in the import of sugar, pharmaceuticals, petroleum products, steel, and textile from India by Madagascar. The give and take relation between the two countries has benefitted both the countries economically. The important product that India imports from Madagascar includes coffee, cinnamon, shellfish, and cloves and so on. The maritime link between India and Madagascar has led to the growth of trade.

Social and Cultural Relation: The Indian Diaspora plays a major role in promoting Indian culture and traditions in a Foreign land. The Indian Community celebrates Indian festivals in Madagascar. The Indian people even enjoy watching Indian channels. It shows that the people of the two nations respect each other’s cultural and social values. The Embassy also organizes cultural programmes that are well attended by both Indians and Malagasies.

The students of Madagascar look forward to India as a destination for higher education.

Food Habits: Like the people of India, the people of Madagascar love to eat Rice. Rice is their staple food served with an addition of a curry that tastes luscious. The curry is either made out of vegetables or chicken, sea food. The food customs are almost similar between the two countries. The food eaten replicates the influence of Indian migrants that have settled in Madagascar.

The two countries share a very genial relationship. Even in the past, there were cordial cultural and political visits by high officials of the two nations. The Indo-Madagascar connection has been since ages and will continue. The people of the two countries play a major role in setting up the relation.

  • I can say in my home town of Mahajanga there is a large Indian community and they work close with the Malagasy, helping the poor with bags of rice.

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Despite Tariff War With U.S, China’s Economic Growth is Steady

The fight between the two biggest global economies has disrupted trade in goods from soybeans medical equipment, battering exporters on both sides and rattling financial markets.

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China
An employee working on the production line of an electronics factory is seen reflected on an equipment, in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China, April 2, 2019. VOA

China’s economic growth held steady in the latest quarter despite a tariff war with Washington, in a reassuring sign that Beijing’s efforts to reverse a slowdown might be gaining traction.

The world’s second-largest economy expanded by 6.4% over a year earlier in the three months ending in March, the government reported Wednesday. That matched the previous quarter for the weakest growth since 2009.

“This confirms that China’s economic growth is bottoming out and this momentum is likely to continue,” said Tai Hui of JP Morgan Asset Management in a report.

Government intervention

Communist leaders stepped up government spending last year and told banks to lend more after economic activity weakened, raising the risk of politically dangerous job losses.

Beijing’s decision to ease credit controls aimed at reining in rising debt “is starting to yield results,” Hui said.

Consumer spending, factory activity and investment all accelerated in March from the month before, the National Bureau of Statistics reported.

The economy showed “growing positive factors,” a bureau statement said.

A delivery worker pushes boxes of goods at the capital city's popular shopping mall in Beijing, April 4, 2019. The U.S. and China opened a ninth round of talks Wednesday, aiming to further narrow differences in an ongoing trade war.
A delivery worker pushes boxes of goods at the capital city’s popular shopping mall in Beijing, April 4, 2019. The U.S. and China opened a ninth round of talks Wednesday, aiming to further narrow differences in an ongoing trade war. VOA

Recovery later this year

Forecasters expect Chinese growth to bottom out and start to recover later this year. They expected a recovery last year but pushed back that time line after President Donald Trump hiked tariffs on Chinese imports over complaints about Beijing’s technology ambitions.

The fight between the two biggest global economies has disrupted trade in goods from soybeans medical equipment, battering exporters on both sides and rattling financial markets.

The two governments say settlement talks are making progress, but penalties on billions of dollars of each other’s goods are still in place.

China’s top economic official, Premier Li Keqiang, announced an annual official growth target of 6% to 6.5% in March, down from last year’s 6.6% rate.

Li warned of “rising difficulties” in the global economy and said the ruling Communist Party plans to step up deficit spending this year to shore up growth.

Beijing’s stimulus measures have temporarily set back official plans to reduce reliance on debt and investment to support growth.

Also in March, exports rebounded from a contraction the previous month, rising 14.2% over a year earlier. Still, exports are up only 1.4% so far this year, while imports shrank 4.8% in a sign of weak Chinese domestic demand.

China
Chinese leaders warned previously any economic recovery will be “L-shaped,” meaning once the downturn bottomed out, growth would stay low. VOA

Auto sales fell 6.9% in March from a year ago, declining for a ninth month. But that was an improvement over the 17.5% contraction in January and February.

Tariffs’ effect long-lasting

Economists warn that even if Washington and Beijing announce a trade settlement in the next few weeks or months, it is unlikely to resolve all the irritants that have bedeviled relations for decades.

The two governments agreed Dec. 1 to postpone further penalties while they negotiate, but punitive charges already imposed on billions of dollars of goods stayed in place.

Even if they make peace, the experience of other countries suggests it can take four to five years for punitive duties to “dissipate fully,” said Jamie Thompson of Capital Economics in a report last week.

Chinese leaders warned previously any economic recovery will be “L-shaped,” meaning once the downturn bottomed out, growth would stay low.

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Credit growth accelerated in March, suggesting companies are stepping up investment and production.

Total profit for China’s national-level state-owned banks, oil producers, phone carriers and other companies rose 13.1% over a year ago in the first quarter, the government reported Tuesday. Revenue rose 6.3% and investment rose 9.7%. (VOA)