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Marc Ravalomanana
Marc Ravalomanana.jpg
5th President of Madagascar
In office
5 July 2002 – 17 March 2009
Prime Minister
  • Tantely Andrianarivo
  • Jacques Sylla
  • Jean-Jacques Rasolondraibe
  • Jacques Sylla
  • Charles Rabemananjara
Preceded by Didier Ratsiraka
Succeeded by Hyppolite Ramaroson (Several hours)
48th Mayor of Antananarivo
In office
14 November 1999 – 6 May 2002
Preceded by Guy Razanamasy
Succeeded by Patrick Ramiaramanana
Personal details
Born (1949-12-12) 12 December 1949 (age 72)
Imerinkasinina, Madagascar
Political party I Love Madagascar
Spouse(s) Lalao Ravalomanana
m. 1974
Children Four

Marc Ravalomanana GCSK (born 12 December 1949) is a Malagasy politician who was the President of Madagascar from 2002 to 2009. Born into a farming Merina family in Imerinkasinina, near the capital city of Antananarivo, Ravalomanana first rose to prominence as the founder and CEO of the vast dairy conglomerate TIKO, later launching successful wholesaler MAGRO and several additional companies.

He entered politics upon founding the Tiako Iarivo political party in 1999 and successfully ran for the position of mayor of Antananarivo, holding the position from 1999 to 2001. As mayor he improved sanitary and security conditions in the city. In August 2001 he announced his candidacy as an independent in the December 2001 presidential election. He then took office as president in 2002 amidst a dispute over election results in which he successfully pressed his claim to have won a majority in the first round. Under the leadership of Jacques Sylla, Ravalomanana's Prime Minister from 2002 to 2007, the political party Tiako I Madagasikara (TIM) was founded in 2002 to support Ravalomanana's presidency and came to dominate legislative and local elections. He was re-elected in December 2006, again with a majority in the first round.

During Ravalomanana's presidency, Madagascar made significant advances toward development targets and experienced an average of seven per cent growth per year. His administration oversaw the construction of thousands of new schools and health clinics. Road rehabilitation aided in improving rural farmers' access to markets. The establishment of the independent anti-corruption agency BIANCO, and the adoption of diverse supporting policies resulted in a decline in government corruption. The acreage of natural areas under protection expanded in fulfillment of Ravalomanana's "Madagascar Naturally" development program. The 2007 release of Ravalomanana's comprehensive development strategy, the Madagascar Action Plan, set targets and goals for national development over his second term in the areas of governance, infrastructure, agriculture, health, economy, environment and national solidarity.

Opposition members criticized Ravalomanana in the later period of his presidency, accusing him of increasing authoritarianism and the mixing of public and private interests. In addition, the benefits of the country's growth were not evenly spread, leading to increased wealth inequality, inflation and a decline in purchasing power for the lower and middle classes. In 2008 a controversial land lease agreement with Korean agricultural firm Daewoo, the purchase of a costly presidential jet and the closure of media channels owned by opposition leader and mayor of Antananarivo, Andry Rajoelina, strengthened popular disapproval of his policies. Rajoelina rallied popular support for the opposition, leading to a popular uprising that began in January 2009 and ended two months later with Ravalomanana's resignation under pressure and Rajoelina taking control with military support in a power transfer viewed by the international community as a coup d'état.

From 2009 to 2012 Ravalomanana lived in exile in South Africa, where he was engaged in active negotiations with Rajoelina and former heads of state Albert Zafy and Didier Ratsiraka to organize national elections. In December 2012 he declared he would not present himself as a candidate, then a precondition to the elections being viewed as legitimate by the international community. TGV candidate Hery Rajaonarimampianina was elected president in January 2014, defeating Jean-Louis Robinson, the candidate of Marc Ravalomanana's camp. Upon attempting to return to Madagascar in October 2014 he was arrested, having been sentenced in absentia to lifelong hard labour for abuses of power by the Rajoelina administration. After his sentence was lifted and he was freed from house arrest in May 2015, Ravalomanana announced the re-opening of the Tiko business group and was re-elected the president of TIM.

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