Madagascar is set to hold elections this Friday in a campaign that has seen more than 30 candidates seek presidency. The country, a biodiversity hotspot with over 90 percent of wildlife that is found nowhere else on Earth has a chance to redeem itself from the cascading trajectory it has taken since 2009 when mayor and former disc jockey Andry Rajoelina, ousted President Marc Ravalomanana with the backing of the army.
Madagascar has slumped 11 points on the Mo Ibrahim good governance index and ranks 151st of 187 countries in the U.N. development index. An estimated 50% of the children in the country are chronically malnourished, making the country the sixth worst in the world on that measure. Only 15% of its population has access to proper sanitation. Prone to natural disasters (such as cyclones) every year and with a drought that's affecting 58% of the population, 88% of the population is threatened with looming hunger.
The aspiring leaders in Madagascar have an onerous opportunity to redeem the country’s tainted global image and draw a roadmap towards self sufficiency, win-win partnerships, end of unproductive politicking, harnessing natural resources for the benefit of the citizenry, efficient service delivery and freeing the potential of the electorate.