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Madagascar, a Wonderful Destination for Investment 马达加斯加:投资的绝佳目的地

By H.E. JEAN LOUIS Robinson Richard,  Ambassador of  Madagascar to  China
文|罗班松·理查德·让·路易(JEAN LOUIS Robinson Richard)   马达加斯加驻华大使            翻译|王晓波

导读

两国之间的合作将侧重于马达加斯加最优先考虑的领域,其中不仅包括基础设施和互联互通,还包括粮食自给、工业化、中等和高等程度的技术和职业教育,以及应对气候变化所造成的影响

鼓励农业投资

工业化中的投资重点

优化营商环境举措

 

 


⬆ Scenery of Antananarivo, Madagascar

 
Madagascar and China officially established diplomatic relations on November 06, 1972 and celebrate this year the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. Both countries since then enjoyed a strong friendship and bilateral cooperation which has been deepening and broadening over the years. Madagascar upholds the “One-China policy” and supported China in a number of issues at the international arena while China has been assisting Madagascar in its quest of social and economic development, including in the fields of infrastructure development, health, agriculture, education and training of human resources, disaster relief etc.

Among the realizations of the bilateral cooperation, we can cite the reparation, decades ago, of the national road number 02 (RN2) which is a vital communication between Antananarivo, the capital city and the main economic powerhouse of the country and Toamasina, the main seaport in the East coast, the construction of the National Palace of Culture and Sports, the construction of the International Conference Center, the construction of the “Eggs Road” linking the nearby rural area of Mahitsy, known for its eggs production, and the capital city, the construction of a modern hospital in the capital suburb, water drilling for the local population in the south of the country,  a number of roads linking the capital city and its international airport etc.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, China timely provided assistance to Madagascar by sending anti-epidemic equipments, medical personnel and later on, more than 300 000 doses of vaccines. The anti-epidemic cooperation took also the form of knowledge and best practice sharing among medical experts of both countries through the Chinese medical mission team from Gansu province and through videoconferences.

For the future, the cooperation between the two countries should emphasize on the areas that are top priorities for the country, which include not only infrastructure development and  connectivity but also food self sufficiency, industrialization, technical and vocational education,  both at the secondary and the higher level, and addressing climate change effects such cyclones becoming more powerful and more frequent, the shortening of rain season and the drought and water supply issues in the South of the country.

As about investing in Madagascar, I would like first to present an overview of the country. Madagascar is the biggest island of the Indian Ocean ,located in the South-East of Africa, with a size of 587 041 km2 for a fast growing-population of more than 26 million people according to the general census of May 2018 conducted by the national bureau of statistics (INSTAT). With an estimated annual growth of more than 300 000 people, the Malagasy population is now estimated at around 28 million   people, with a very large proportion of young people.  Some call Madagascar as an “Afro-Asian” country thanks to its mixed and multi-ethnic population who originated both from South-East Asia and East Africa, while others think that it is the most Asian of the African countries. For instance, the Malagasy language has a south-east asian root while it has integrated many east African  vocabularies. Having rice as a basic food is also common between Madagascar and Asia.   Later on, i.e, since the late 19th century, Madagascar received the first wave of Chinese migrants who helped construct railways during the colonial era and whose part stayed in the country to become merchants afterwards and integrated well in the local communities.

The country has more than 5000 km of coastline, the longest in Africa, a vast economic exclusive zone for fishing and enjoys diversified climates ranging from tropical climate in the East coast, very suitable for the planting of exotic fruits such as litchi, banana, pepper, mango, vanilla, to high altitude tropical climate in the centre of the country suitable for the plantation of vegetables and even wheat and less rainy season in the West, the North-West and the South that are for example suitable for cotton planting.

Decades ago, Madagascar was called the “granary of the Indian Ocean” as it exported foods to its neighboring islands before. The current Malagasy Government, led by His Excellency Mr Andry Rajoelina, ambitions to become a granary of the region again, but toward this goal, the country needs first to feed its fast growing population. As rice is the main food, cooperation and direct investment in rice production are of outmost importance. Madagascar still has a 400 000 tons gap of rice and has to import this quantity annually. Investors are welcome in industries such as fertilizer production, agricultural technologies production, direct farming, production of animal’s food and food for fish (as fish production is also a priority for the Government), etc and on this, association with local investors and producers are encouraged.

Food processing is also one type of industries that need to be developed in order to better conserve the agricultural products such as mangoes, banana, litchi and at the same time help toward food self sufficiency. Indeed, a huge quantity of mangoes, litchi, banana etc. is wasted every year due to a lack of buyer in many regions and due to a lack of food processing companies. The Government, through the Ministry of Industrialization, Commerce and Consumption, has settled and promotes the “ODOF” program, which stands for “One District, One Factory” and some particular types of industry have been identified and are to be promoted in each of the 119 Districts (administrative subdivision) of Madagascar. This program then offers a broad choice for SMEs promoters. Investors and promoters may seek further guidance from the relevant department of the Ministry of Industrialization if they wish to take part in this Government-promoted program. Furthermore, the EDBM (Economic Development Board of Madagascar), the investment promotion agency of the country, provides free counseling and support before, during and after the settlement of a company in Madagascar. EDBM is indeed a one-stop office for foreign investors who want to start business in the country.

Production of essential oils with therapeutic characteristics from the rich flora of Madagascar is also a very promising branch. Indeed, thanks to its rich biodiversity, one of the most dense and number one in the world in terms of endemicity rate (more than 90%), Madagascar has dozens of endemic plants whose perfume and therapeutic values can be exploited. Production of perfumes can also be developed locally with refinery plants and technologies from abroad.

Madagascar is being very rich in mineral resources and precious stones such as nickel, cobalt, graphite, marble, lithium, rare earths, gold, sapphire, rubis, tourmaline, quartz etc, it wish to fully benefit from the exploitation of these resources. Serious investors are thus encouraged to explore this area. A new draft of mining law is under preparation and may be submitted to the Parliament during its second regular session which will close this December. Nonetheless, the basic requirements for a mining company to succeed, and this is valid everywhere in the world, is to fully study and understand the local laws and regulations governing the mining activities and to take into account and associate the local population. Failing to do so has resulted, in a number of cases, into clashes between mining companies and inhabitants whose lives have been affected by the mining activities.  To prevent such problems from happening, the mining law has settled a number of steps to be followed by company such the social and environmental impacts study before the start of the activity. Of course, carefully following the steps represents a cost and need time, but they are the warrant of success for mining activities.
Besides, the Government of Madagascar, in the framework of its bid for industrialization, one of the pillars of the “Plan for the Emergence of Madagascar” or PEM, would like that there is more value chain in the mining activities. This means that mineral resources should undergo transformation before being exported so that there will be more value added and more jobs in the country. It is already the case for the Ambatovy nickel and cobalt mining activities, one of the biggest in the world. At the same time, the value adding activities will bring know-how and technology transfer to the country. Adding  more value to mineral resources before exportation from Africa is also one of the recommendations in the Dakar Action Plan, the outcome of the FOCAC in November 2021 in Dakar.

To help develop its infrastructure development and housing construction, Madagascar needs to have cement production plants. It indeed have a huge gap in cement production and has to import from abroad and the price and offer on the local market remain high. The Government of Madagascar is currently promoting the building of new housing settlements in the major cities and one of the major project is the building of a smart city project in Imerintsiatosika, in the west of the capital city in order to decongest the later.

Thanks to its important biodiversity and idyllic landscapes and rich culture, including the Tsingy of Bemaraha and the biosphere reserve of North Mananara registered as world natural heritage, and the artistic and wood sculpture know-how of the Zafimaniry ethny as an intangible world heritage, Madagascar has identified tourism as a growth driver. Tourists can enjoy a variety of experience from its pure and fine sand beaches, to its lemurs in many national parks and trekking adventures in mountainous parks such as the Andringitra and Isalo national parks. Investors are then welcome in building high standards hotels resorts in many famous places such as in the Nosy Be and Sainte Marie islands.

As for the business environment, Madagascar offers seven reasons for investors to choose it.

-access to a huge market: as a member of both SADC (Southern Africa Development Community), COMESA (Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa), the COI (Commission of the Indian Ocean) and a signatory of the Tripartite Trade Agreement between SADC, COMESA and the EAC (East African Community), Madagascar offers access to a market of potentially one billion consumers as these regional integration zones implement between their members preferential access to markets. Moreover, Madagascar is geographically located at the gates of Africa.   

-duty free access to US and European markets: companies from Madagascar can export duty free products to the US as Madagascar benefits from the AGOA (African Growth Opportunity Act), and to the European Union in the framework of the EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement)

-versatility of investment opportunities thanks to high potential areas: the country has ambitious sectoral strategies oriented to the promotion of sectors with strong competitive advantages such as tourism, agribusiness and food processing, mining, textiles, information and communication technology, renewable energies, infrastructure etc.

-competitive establishment costs : in Madagascar, investors have access to multiple and exclusive competitive factors such as skilled labor force at a competitive force, electricity cost at 0.07USD/kwh with a fixed premium of 15.66 USD/kwh and a running water at 0.37USD/cubic meter that allow significant savings in investment. Moreover, land rental is only 2.00USB/m2/month for industrial use. The country has also a quantity of low-cost raw materials.

-the commitment of the Government : through the EDBM and the relevant departments of the different Ministries, the Government is committed to defining and implementing sectoral development plans, including the above-mentioned “ODOF” project which aims at creating at least one factory in each District.

-legal and administrative framework: Madagascar strives to facilitate business by settling a “one stop shop” office for administrative procedures pertaining company inception through the EDBM which gathers representatives of involved Ministerial departments. Moreover, EDBM provides free counseling and guidance for investors and recently made available an online application for company creation process (www.edbm.mg).

-unrivaled natural resources: thanks to its particular geologic history and its geographical location, Madagascar is classified as one of the worlds “biodiversity hot spots”. From dense rain forests in the East to dry forests of majestic baobabs in the West and the large areas of wetlands in the West coasts, Madagascar, also called “a continent-island”, is an unparalleled nature sanctuary.

To conclude, I call on serious investors from China to explore opportunities in Madagascar in the above mentioned sectors, to fully study the regulatory framework, to consider more value added and the longer term in their investments. The Embassy of Madagascar and the Government of Madagascar is highly willing to work with them.

 


 



马达加斯加和中国在1972年11月6日正式建立外交关系,今年是两国建交50周年。自建交以来,两国一直保持着深厚的友谊和双边合作,而且这些年来友谊和合作在不断加深和扩大。马达加斯加始终坚持“一个中国政策”,并在国际上的一些问题上支持中国,而中国也一直协助马达加斯加推动社会和经济发展,包括基础设施、卫生、农业、教育和人力资源培训、救灾等领域。

在双方已经实现的合作中,我们可以列举出几十年前对02号国道(RN2)的修复,它是连接马达加斯加首都塔那那利佛与东海岸主要海港托马西纳之间的重要道路。国际会议中心的建设,修建马赫西附近农村与首都连接的道路,这些地区因出产鸡蛋而闻名,所以这条路也被称为“鸡蛋路”。在首都郊区建立现代化医院,在南部为当地居民钻井探取水以及兴建连接首都和国际机场的多条道路等。

新冠肺炎疫情爆发后,中国及时向马达加斯加提供了援助,运送了防疫设备,派遣了医务人员,后来又提供了30多万剂的疫苗。抗疫合作还有来自中国甘肃省的医疗代表团与当地医疗专家的交流和通过视频会议分享知识和最佳做法的方式。

未来,两国之间的合作将侧重于马达加斯加最优先考虑的领域,其中不仅包括基础设施和互联互通,还包括粮食自给、工业化、中等和高等程度的技术和职业教育,以及应对气候变化所造成的影响,比如应对旋风变得更强大和频繁、雨季缩短以及马达加斯加南部的干旱和供水问题。

关于对马达加斯加的投资,我想首先介绍一下这个国家的概况。马达加斯加是印度洋最大的岛屿,位于非洲东南部,面积为587041平方公里。根据国家统计局(INSTAT)2018年5月进行的人口普查,马达加斯加的人口正在快速增长,已经超过了2600万。据估计,马达加斯加每年的人口增长超过30万,现在约有2800万人是年轻人,占总人口的很大比例。由于它的人口中混合着源自东南亚和东非的多个民族,一些人将其称为“非洲的亚洲”国家,也有一些人认为它是非洲国家中最具亚洲特色的国家。举例来讲,马达加斯加语有一个东南亚语言的词根,但它同时又融合了许多东非的语言和词汇。如同在亚洲一样,将大米作为主食在马达加斯加也很常见。从19世纪末开始,马达加斯加迎来了第一批中国移民,他们在殖民时代帮助修建铁路,后来他们中的一部分人留在了这个国家,成为商人,并融入了当地的社区生活。

 

 
⬆ 马达加斯加Tsingy de Bemaraha严格自然保护区独特地理风貌

 

鼓励农业投资

马达加斯加有5000多公里的海岸线,是海岸线最长的非洲国家,还有广阔的渔业专属经济区。马达加斯加拥有多种气候,东海岸的热带气候非常适合种植荔枝、香蕉、胡椒、芒果、香草等热带水果或香料,中部的高海拔热带气候则适合种植蔬菜甚至小麦,西部、西北部和南部的雨季较少,适合种植诸如棉花一类的作物。

早在几十年前,马达加斯加曾被称为“印度洋的粮仓”,因为它可以向邻近的岛屿出口食物。由安德里·拉乔利纳总统领导的马达加斯加现任政府希望能够再次成为该地区的粮仓,但要实现这一目标,马达加斯加首先需要养活其快速增长的人口。由于大米是主要粮食,因此合作和对大米生产的直接投资至关重要。马达加斯加现在的大米缺口有40万吨,这部分每年必须依靠进口。马达加斯加欢迎对化肥生产、农业技术生产、直接农耕、动物食品生产和鱼类食品生产(因为鱼类生产也是政府优先考虑的事项)等行业的投资者,并鼓励他们与当地的投资者和生产商建立联系。

食品加工也是需要发展的一种产业,目的是为了更好地保存芒果、香蕉、荔枝等农产品,同时也帮助实现食品自给自足。事实上,每年许多地区由于缺乏买家和食品加工公司,大量的芒果、荔枝和香蕉等都会被浪费。政府通过工业化、商业和消费部制定和出台了“ODOF”计划,该计划的意思是“一个地区、一个工厂”,政府还确定了一些特定类型的行业,并将在马达加斯加的119个地区(行政区划)的每个地区进行推广。这一计划为中小企业的筹划者提供了广泛的选择。如果投资者或者筹划者希望参与政府推广的项目,可以向工业化部的相关部门寻求进一步指导。此外,马达加斯加的投资促进机构马达加斯加经济发展委员会(EDBM)会在公司在马达加斯加成立之前、期间和之后提供免费的咨询和支持。事实上,马达加斯加经济发展委员会是一个为希望在马达加斯加兴业的外国投资者们提供的一站式办公室。

从马达加斯加丰富的植物群中提取和生产具有治疗特效的精油也是一个非常有前景的分支行业。实际上,由于其丰富的生物多样性,作为世界上密度最大、地方性率最高的国家(超过90%)之一,马达加斯加拥有数十种特有植物,从其提取的香水及其治疗价值都可加以利用。香水生产也可以在当地利用国外的炼油厂和技术进行开发。


工业化中的投资重点

马达加斯加拥有丰富的矿产资源和宝石,比如镍、钴、石墨、大理石、锂、稀土、黄金、蓝宝石、红宝石、电气石、石英等,它希望这些资源能够得到充分利用,因此它鼓励有诚意的投资者探索这一领域。新的采矿法草案正在酝酿中,可能会在今年12月闭幕的第二届常会上提交议会。不过,矿业公司成功的基本要求(这在世界各地都是获得认可的)是要充分了解和理解管理采矿业务的当地的法律法规,同时将当地人口考虑在内并与其建立联系。如果不这样做,在一些情况下,会导致采矿公司与生活受到采矿业务影响的居民之间发生冲突。为了防止此类问题的发生,采矿法规定了公司在开展业务前应遵循的一些步骤,比如对社会和环境影响的调查。当然,认真遵循这些步骤需要付出精力和花费时间,但它们是采矿业务成功的保证。

此外,马达加斯加政府在“马达加斯加崛起计划”(PEM)中将工业化视为支柱之一,在其追求工业化的架构中,希望采矿业务能够带动更多的价值链。这意味着矿产资源在出口前应经过加工,这样可以在国内创造更多的附加值和就业机会。地处Ambatovy的镍和钴的开采业务已经如此,这里是世界上最大的采矿业之一。与此同时,增值业务还能为马达加斯加带来专业知识和技术转让。在从非洲出口之前增加矿产资源的价值也是《达喀尔行动计划》的一项建议,该计划是2021 年11月在达喀尔举行的中非合作论坛的成果。

为了发展基础设施和住房建设,马达加斯加还需要拥有水泥生产厂。事实上,在水泥生产方面马达加斯加存在着巨大缺口,不得不从国外进口,而且当地市场的价格和报价都很高。马达加斯加政府目前正在其主要城市推广新定居区的建设,其中的一个主要项目是在Imerintsiatosika建设一个智能城市,它位于首都的西部,旨在缓解首都的拥堵状态。

由于拥有重要的生物多样性、田园风光和丰富的文化,包括被列入世界自然遗产的贝马拉哈的Tsingy和北马纳纳拉的生物圈保护区,以及作为非物质世界遗产的扎菲曼尼民族的艺术和木雕技术,马达加斯加已将旅游业视为增长的驱动力。游客可以在马达加斯加经历各种各样的体验,包括行走在纯净而细致的沙滩上,在许多国家公园观赏狐猴,以及在安德林吉特拉和伊萨洛国家公园等山区公园里徒步旅行。因此,欢迎投资者们在许多知名的地方兴建高标准的酒店度假村,比如诺西贝岛和圣玛丽岛。

 

优化营商环境举措

至于营商环境,马达加斯加为投资者提供了七个选择它的理由。

——接近巨大的市场:作为南部非洲发展共同体(SADC)、东南非共同市场(COMESA)和印度洋委员会(COI)的成员以及南部非洲发展共同体、东南非共同市场和东非共同体(EAC)之间三方贸易协定的签署方,马达加斯加可以提供一个进入拥有10亿潜在消费者市场的机会,因为这些一体化的区域在其成员国之间实行市场准入优惠。而且,马达加斯加在地理上位于非洲门户。

——对美国和欧洲市场的免税准入:因为受益于非洲增长机会法(AGOA),马达加斯加的公司可以向美国免税出口产品,同时在经济伙伴关系协定(EPA)框架内向欧盟免税出口。

——在潜力巨大的领域,投资机会具有多样性:马达加斯加制定了雄心勃勃的行业战略,旨在发展具有强大竞争优势的行业,比如旅游业、农业综合企业和食品加工、矿业、纺织、信息和通信技术、可再生能源和基础设施等。

——有竞争力的兴业成本:在马达加斯加,投资者可以获得多个专享的具有竞争力的优势,比如具有竞争力的熟练劳动力、电力成本为0.07美元/千瓦时,固定附加费为15.66美元/千瓦时、自来水价格为0.37美元/立方米,这些都有助于大幅节省开支。此外,工业用地租金仅为2美元/平米/月。马达加斯加还拥有大量低成本的原材料。

——政府的承诺:通过马达加斯加经济发展委员会和不同部委的相关部门,政府致力于制定和实施行业发展计划,包括前面提到的“一区一厂”计划,该计划旨在让每个区都至少兴建一个工厂。

——法律和行政框架:马达加斯加经济发展委员会聚集了相关部委的代表,马达加斯加政府希望通过该机构设立一个“一站式”办公室,负责与公司成立相关的行政程序,达到简化办理流程的目的。此外,马达加斯加经济发展委员会还为投资者提供免费咨询和指导,最近还推出了有关成立公司流程的在线应用程序(www.edm.mg)。

——无与伦比的自然资源:由于其特殊的地质历史和地理位置,马达加斯加被列为世界“生物多样性热点”之一。从东部浓密的雨林到西部干燥的长满壮观的猴面包树的森林,再到西海岸的大片湿地,马达加斯加也被称为“大陆岛”,是一个无与伦比的自然保护区。

最后,我号召中国有诚意的投资者前往马达加斯加考察上面提到的行业机遇,充分研究监管框架,并考虑能够带来更多附加值和长期的投资。马达加斯加大使馆和马达加斯加政府非常愿意与这些投资者合作。