Madagascar’s situation (social, economic, political, etc.) appears to be worsening day by day. The economy is in a very bad shape (amongst one of the poorest countries in the world), education is suffering, the infrastructures are in disarray, healthcare is almost nonexistent, corruption is drowning the country, so on and so forth. Observers argue that one of the probable solutions to put Madagascar back on its feet is that the diaspora returns and does something. That could work. Ideally! They have experience and the know-how from developed countries, they are highly educated, they have a different vision, they have a different mentality, and they may have the required capitals to start meaningful projects. But not every Malagasy who lives abroad wants to go back to Madagascar. Why? There are multiple reasons. Here are 10, non-exhaustive, reasons why the Malagasy Diaspora may not want to return to Madagascar:
The purpose of leaving Madagascar. Most Malagasy who left Madagascar were the “mila ravinahitra” i.e. the ones who are looking for a better opportunity and a better future. Why would they go back if they are looking for something else somewhere else, especially if they found what they were looking for?
Finance. Some Malagasy argue that they will not get the salary they deserve or they want if they work in Madagascar. Some of them have spent a huge amount of money to pay for their studies abroad and feel that it will not pay back if they work in Madagascar.
Fairness. Some argue that it is not fair if they studied for 5, 6, 7, or 8 years and that those who did not study but practice “dirty” businesses control everything and are richer than them.
Health. Some have health conditions that necessitate specific treatment that they would not find in Madagascar. For example, someone with a heart condition who would not benefit from an emergency treatment [in Madagascar] if any problem were to occur.
Physical security. Having lived for several years abroad where physical security was the last and the least of their concerns, some cannot accept that all of a sudden it becomes their first worry.
Political. Some do not want to go back because of the local political practices. They fear of any abusive arrests that can happen to them at any time
Emotion. Some argue that they just cannot stand seeing poverty. Seeing all the poor people in the streets breaks their heart.
Habits. Some argue that they have the habits of doing things with transparency and openly according to the rules and regulations, and they find it unacceptable to bribe someone with every single thing that they do with the administration.
Mentality. Some argue that the Malagasy mentality and some social behaviors have become unbearable to them. For example, when a Malagasy who returned home tries to bring some changes, the others say that they are arrogant. There is also the jealousy: when someone succeeds, instead of celebrating with them, the others will just express jealousy and bitterness. As the Malagasy call it “ory hava-manana” (sad when your relatives succeed/are rich).
Doing it remotely. Some say that they can do something good for the country from abroad and they do not need to go there.
If you are a Malagasy who lives abroad and does not want to go back to Madagascar, you may relate to one if not more of these reasons. You might even have a completely different reason. Not one is to blame as everyone has a different deciding factor that we must respect.
However, foreigners who love Madagascar will say “Madagascar is not a country that attracts, it retains!” Powerful food for thought though right there.
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