Madagascar–United States relations
Relations between the United States and Madagascar date to the middle 19th century. Apart from Mozambique, Madagascar was the only East African country to import slaves to the Americas. The two countries concluded a commercial convention in 1867 and a treaty of peace, friendship, and commerce in 1881. Traditionally warm relations suffered considerably during the 1970s, when Madagascar expelled the U.S. ambassador, closed a NASA tracking station, allied with the USSR, and nationalized two U.S. oil companies. In 1980, relations at the ambassadorial level were restored.
Throughout the troubled period, commercial and cultural relations remained active. In 1990, Madagascar was designated as a priority aid recipient, and assistance increased from $15 million in 1989 to $40 million in 1993. Recent U.S. assistance has contributed to a population census and family planning programs; conservation of Madagascar's remarkable biodiversity, private sector development, agriculture, democracy and governance initiatives; and media training. Madagascar became the first country with a Millennium Challenge Account compact when it signed an agreement worth $110 million in April 2006. The Ravalomanana government was especially positive about ties with the United States.
The fall of President Ravalomanana in 2009 and the subsequent Transition regime strained those relations. Madagascar could not benefit from much US or international aid any more, nor qualify for free trade agreements such as AGOA. In 2013, a new president and a new national assembly were elected with the support of the international community. International aid resumed, and Madagascar again benefited from AGOA; in theory, for its main export industry garments, had suffered very much. However, in June 2015, a new degradation of the political climate in Antananarivo prompted the U.S. State Department to voice its concern and call for a 'national dialogue' in the country.
U.S. Officials include:
- Ambassador--R. Niels Marquardt
- Deputy Chief of Mission—George Sibley
- USAID Director—vacant
- Defense Attache—Cecil Bridges
- Public Affairs Officer—Rodney Ford
- Consular Officer—Jay Epping
- Economic/Commercial Section Chief—Brian Neubert
- Political—Silvana Rodriguez
- Management Officer—Keith Heffern
- Peace Corps Director—vacant