There are good business prospects for Sabah planters to invest in growing oil palm in Madagascar and build the palm oil industry for distribution throughout the African market with a consumer base of more than 600 million people.
This includes the development of ethanol fuel value chain to replace the use of charcoal and firewood with establishment of biorefinery. Currently, oil palm planted by private enterprise in Madagascar only covered about 3,000 hectares.
This was revealed by Willy Andriambelo, Chairman of Madagascar Malaysia Business Council (MMBC), at a Madagascar Malaysia Business Council seminar entitled: “Madagascar, Land of Business and Investment Opportunities” held at G&A Space office, Thursday. As electricity tariffs are high in Madagascar and inconsistent power supply, there is opportunity for power generation investors to tap the market, including for solar, wind energy development. There is a need for the creation of power plants near mining and industrial areas.
Madagascar, off the coast of Africa, is the fourth largest island in the world, after Borneo. A sizeable number of the population were seafaring settlers from Kalimantan a long time ago, sailing for the Buddhist pilgrimage island of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and India, but blown off course by Indian Ocean storm currents.
The event started with Datuk George Lim of PUMM and head of G&A Space introducing the function’s purpose, followed by Datuk CL Chan who had been to Madagascar to share his impressions and experience, and MMBC Vice Chairman Johary Christian Rasoarahona, who presently resides in Sabah.
Johary said as a strategic business hub, Madagascar offers advantages such as its Free Trade Agreements (FTA) and Generalised System Preferences (GSP) with more than 50 countries including being a member or partner of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), Southern African Development Community (SADC), African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). He said another business prospect is the supply of mechanisation machinery to Madagascar’s agricultural sector as even their paddy harvesting predominantly is done manually.
Other prospects include eco-tourism, real estate development (hotels, resorts, and 50,000 homes), power generation and green sustainable energy projects including hydropower 600MW on a potential of 7,800MW, telecommunications, assembly of vehicles (Proton and Perodua), electrical and electronic goods, food and beverage including infrastructure, drilling and drinking water supply.
Present to speak and meet with guests at the function included Ellen Myra Ranaivosoa, CEO of Boozaka Group, MMBC Secretary-General Emmanuel S Aristide, and M&T Associates partner Tsimbina Andrianaivo. They displayed various foodstuff and handicraft products from Madagascar for guests to peruse, taste and feel with their hands.
The Madagascar Malaysia Business Council brought felicitation to Malaysians from the President of Republic of Madagascar, Sir Andry Nirina Rajoelina, reportedly a friend of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, for forging closer business ties, according to MMBC Vice Chairman Johary Christian Rasoarahona who had attended his newly elected President’s inauguration last January 2019 with a delegation from Malaysia.
The event ended with a cocktail reception attended by some 50 people, members of various trade and chambers of commerce, and Matrade representative.
Willy Andriambelo, Chairman of Madagascar Malaysia Business Council, said he would be returning to Madagascar this Saturday and arrange for a trade mission from Malaysia to visit his country in June this year.