It has been almost ten years. In December 2008 while I was a student at Georgetown I met Zaza Ramandimbiarison (ZR) at the World Bank Headquarters. ZR had been deputy Prime Minister in years 2001-2002 under the Presidency of Marc Ravalomanana. In addition he was a technocrat and held a Master’s degree in civil engineering from France’s grande ecole Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees. Our face to face meeting lasted 90 minutes. This man, I thought, will one day become President of Madagascar.
In November 2010 I finally visited the World’s fourth largest island -Madagascar- in the company of an extraordinary man: Ambassador Brian Donaldson. My two week visit included a short visit to Toamasina, a two day visit to the Rio Tinto mining facility in Tolagnaro and three full days of interviews with Malagasy Experts. I introduced ZR as one of the 100 Expert Dreamers in my first book and anticipated his future Presidency in a piece published on The Huffington Post in 2016 “Zaza Will Be President“. The forthcoming general election takes place in Madagascar this coming November and December. It is extremely important because Madagascar remains today one of the World’s ten poorest countries, it is undergoing a phenomenal demographic boom, is one of the World’s ten hungriest countries and one of the World’s top ten countries most affected by climate change. My global plan presented in my first book has been endorsed by Federico Mayor Zaragoza and Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri.
The Malagasy election matters most because extremely poor countries have a very poor record of governance and a rather miserable implementation of policies and delivery of results. This also applies to many developing and even developed countries. The problem at stake is in my opinion the current system of governance called politics which the developed nations have “foisted upon” extremely poor countries, a few of which having figured out how to avoid it through soft military dictators like Rwanda’s or Zimbabwe’s or single party regimes like those of South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia or Botswana.
The crooked and obsolete politics of the West fails in the developing World because a myriad of newly created political parties most often owned by their cacique leaders emerge chasing for power and therefore traffic of influences, client networking and in the very end money and funding. The few honest become corrupt or are ejected out of the system. Many of these parties do not have a plan, a vision, not even an ideology. Many of these parties are the result and creation of individual rivalries between former Dictators and Presidents and current ones. In fact it is rather difficult to understand national politics in many developing and developed nations -including my native Spain- without having a thorough understanding of the country’s History. For a better understanding of Madagascar I encourage the reading of Sir Mervyn Brown’s extraordinary history book “A History Of Madagascar“.
Madagascar had barely 6 Million inhabitants when it obtained independence from France in 1961. By the end of the century in 2100 projections predict 105 Million inhabitants, a population nightmare impossible to manage, a massive small Armaggedon. The country is also being hit by climate change and massive and rapid deforestation mainly related to subsistence agriculture, as wonderfully but fearfully presented by The New York Times’ Reporter Nicholas Kristof in his 2017 piece. The Great Island’s unique flora and fauna are in great danger. So are all Malagasies.
My trip and stay in Madagascar have two fundamental goals: the first one is to endorse Zaza Ramandimbiarison’s presidential bid as Advisor and raise international awareness of the importance of bringing on board a technocratic leader with a long-term vision. ZR is educated but also extremely seasoned. He is no charlatan, no pretender, pragmatic. My second goal is to build up The Madagascar Presidential Team, a think-tank of independent, non-partisan Experts that can contribute to the design of the best policymaking plan for the country, serving whatever President is finally elected under the creation of a New Ministry: the Ministry of the Future. Such Presidential Team is inexistent in a majority of countries, including my native Spain where I am also building one.
Madagascar matters because a different approach to politics is manifestly necessary in today’s challenging World. Away from communisms and dictatorships, an alternative has to be proposed today within the realm of democracy and the market economy. The complicated dilemma is whether the implementation of a new governance system is possible in countries where the majority of the population remains uneducated, barely surviving, while being forced to deposit a vote every 5 years. Population emerges everywhere and individuals, citizens, support, vote for a charismatic leader that most often is a charlatan with no vision, with no plan. Southern Europe has clear examples of new political parties that end up being more of the same: Syriza in Greece, Five Diamonds in Italy, Podemos in Spain, none of which have been able to capture the attention of a majority while failing to actually implement any radical turnaround, improvement included. France’s Macron embraces in the meantime the most absurd complex of grandeur in which the big words do not follow the actions nor the facts. In Britain in the meantime Britons have voted for Brexit but have not elected the Premier.
I have created an alternative governance system to politics. It is global and it is supranational. Madagascar may be the very first instance to show the World that a new beginning is indeed possible.