You are here: Home Countries Madagascar

Madagascar

About Madagascar

The Republic of Madagascar is an island country in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Southeast Africa.

The nation comprises the island of Madagascar (the fourth-largest island in the world), as well as numerous smaller peripheral islands. Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot; over 90 percent of its wildlife is found nowhere else on Earth. The island's diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife are threatened by the encroachment of the rapidly growing human population.

In 2012, the population of Madagascar was estimated at just over 22 million, 90 percent of whom live on less than two dollars per day. Malagasy and French are both official languages of the state. The majority of the population adheres to traditional beliefs, Christianity, or an amalgamation of both. Ecotourism and agriculture, paired with greater investments in education, health and private enterprise, are key elements of Madagascar's development strategy.

Alcohol in Madagascar

Madagascar is in the introductory phase of its advocacy campaign conducting research on related issues.

A recent publication by the Malagasy Institute of Public Health suggests that 59% of teens consumed alcohol during the last 12 months, and 45% drank during the last 30 days . This research also shows that most young adults (18-25) drink alcohol on a regular basis and that a third of the respondents typically consume six standard units of alcohol on one occasion, which is typically considered as heavy episodic drinking. The three most popular alcoholic beverages in Madagascar are beer, rum and the cheaply available and illegally home brewed Toaka Gasy, according to the Malagasy Public Health Institute.

A Madagascar report monitored alcohol marketing in and around Antananarivo in October 2013. To assess the status of alcohol marketing in Madagascar, EUCAM monitored online, print and outdoor media. The main  findings were:

  • Alcohol retailers and bars frequently break the law by placing their establishment within a 150 meter radius of religious buildings, educational institutions, hospitals and etc.
  • Alcohol advertisers frequently break the law by using image advertising, instead of using merely
  • product information.
  • In outdoor areas on average 48.4 alcohol ads were identified per 0,25 km2.
  • Alcohol ads are twice as likely to be found around schools, compared to other places.
  • Online, claims were identified suggesting that light alcoholic beverages can be consumed by any member of the family.
  • Analysis of print media frequently identified unofficial ways of marketing (editorial content,
  • sponsorship of events and sports, as well as job offerings).

View the full Madagascar monitoring report...
 

Alcohol policy

Scientific research suggests that exposure to alcohol advertising affects the drinking behaviour of young people [13-17].

Empirical- and review studies support the idea that alcohol marketing lowers the age of initiation of drinking and increases the amount that is consumed and the frequency of drinking [13-17]. Madagascar has a strong base of legislative restrictions on alcohol advertising in the ‘Code Général de Impots,’ Art . 10/06/37 -39 & Art . 10/06/73 -75 (Art . 10/06/73 -75 prohibits advertisements for fermented and distilled beverages from containing lifestyle information, or qualifications that go beyond mere product descriptions). There is a  current of how well these laws are upheld and enforced as well as how they can be improved.

Research

In the period of 16 till 20 October 2013 the content of the various online and social media platforms of the five most popular brands in Madagascar was analyzed.

The placement of outdoor alcohol advertisements were monitored in four urban areas in Antananarivo and another suburb. Alcohol points of sale and schools were also mapped including a statistical analysis to see whether there were significantly more alcohol ads found near schools. Print media was also monitored. Sponsored events were also monitored with a clear increase in alcohol promotional events in the country where free alcohol and gifts are given out to crowds.

Click here to access an overview of the identified alcohol marketing instances.

Policy recommendations

The country is in the early phase of a comprehensive advocacy campaign. More research will be conducted around the country on different aspects of daily living affected by alcohol. The following recommendations will be included in forthcoming discussions with government:

  • Recognizing that a comprehensive ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship would reduce alcohol–related harm, and that self-regulation is an ineffective mechanism to reduce alcohol-related harm, effective legislation remains necessary to strictly regulate alcohol marketing activities
  • The total volume of alcohol marketing should be restricted as much as possible. Alcohol marketing tools that are difficult to monitor (e.g. alcohol advertising on the internet) should be prohibited
  • This preliminary monitoring of alcohol marketing showed that many alcohol advertisements refer to values that are highly appreciated by large groups of Malagasy. Suggestions to sexual and economic success and a glorious, western lifestyle are often used in alcohol advertisements and are absolutely unethical. Just as Art 10/06/73 and Art 10/06/74 of the ‘Code Général de Impots,’ state, alcohol advertisements should be restricted to information of the product only; which includes that the product is not to be exhibited in a setting with people or any other context glamorizing the alcoholic product
  • The use of direct or indirect incentives that encourage the purchase of alcohol should be prohibited
  • The practice of articles 10/06/73 and 10/06/74 show that having regulations on paper is not in and of itself sufficient. Effective policy depends strongly on its enforcement. The adherence to alcohol marketing regulations should be monitored regularly by the government or a board independent from economic interests of the sale of alcohol. The monitoring method described in this paper can be a starting point of monitoring systematically by non-economic operators
  • In order to provide governments with adequate information, alcohol companies should be obliged to disclose alcohol marketing expenditures to appropriate governments