Biography of Marc Ravalomanana
Marc Ravalomanana the youngest of eight siblings, is a business mogul who went on to become the 5th President of Madagascar.
He was born on the 12th of December 1949 to a poor family in the village of Imerinkasinina, east of Antananarivo,Madagascar.
The man many refer to as “self-made” began schooling at age 5 in Anjeva public primary school… and we can as well say his money making instinct started from that age, as he often departed early with baskets of watercress to sell to train passengers at the nearby station . Eventually, he completed his upper primary school at the Protestant Vinet private school in Ambohimalaza where his mother arranged for him to live with a family.
Thereafter, he wasted no time to attend the Swedish missionary-technical secondary school in Ambatomanga.
During this period while he was minding his studies anyways, he experienced love at first sight with Lalao Rakotonirainy, a classmate…who later became his soul mate on the 12th November 1974.
The marriage was blessed with a daughter and 3 sons.
Meanwhile, in 1972 during the chaos of political instability and widespread school based protests against the government, Ravalomanana dropped out of school in grade eleven, at the age of 23; notwithstanding he pursued further technical training in Fianarantsoa district of Madagascar.
He participated in an NGO-sponsored entrepreneurship training in Sweden and Germany before he went on for business studies in Denmark; endorsed by the Danish ambassador.
After his long spell abroad, Ravalomanana returned home to establish a family business—making and selling homemade yogurts, a product in the region.
As of 2013, his company—TIKO, made over $150,000,000 per annum… and he’s also a stakeholder in TIKO air…an airline charter company.
He tiptoed into politics in 1997 when Norbert Ratsirahonana declared himself a candidate in the presidential elections against Ratsiraka and Albert Zafy.
Subsequently, he ventured fully into politics in 1999, establishing the Tiako Larivo political party and successfully ran for the post of Mayor of Antananarivo— the position he held from 1999-2001.
And we must mention that Ravalomanana did a good job, improving environmental sanitation, security and welfare conditions in his jurisdiction.
Agreeably; Good work pays… as it was evidently applicable to Ravalomanana in August 2001, when he declared his aspiration to contest. Although the election proved to be a tough one, as he was coming with a small portfolio in the political scene to contest against the incumbent who was an already established national politician.
He mapped out a unique and strategic campaign to promote his image as the best man for the job;being a self-made man who was ready to leverage on his business expertise to develop the country, plus he’s young and agile at age 52 and his non-alliance with the political bigwigs who had dominated political space for the past 30.
More so, his humble background as a village farmer sympathized with the poor masses who were the majority of the voters.
They rallied massive support for him in the rural areas. The populace saw him as the perfect political elite that’ll be established in Madagascar to replace the old incompetent corrupt ones.
After much struggle against the incumbent president Didier Ratsiraka… Marc Ravalomanana was sworn in as president by his loyalists on the 22nd February 2002, right in the capital which had always been.
In view of the support he got from the people, President Marc Ravalomanana made significant moves towards the development of Madagascar… And under his watch, he made sure the economy experienced an average of 7% GDP increase per year, he saw to the construction of more medical facilities across the country, road rehabilitation and maintenance, establishment of Independent Anti-corruption Agency—BIANCO and adoption of unique policies to reduce corrupt practices in the government… Nothing lasts forever, so also is Ravalomanana’s good governance; during his second term in office… the opposition members began to criticize his administration, accusing him of authoritarianism and ill-balance of public interests.
In 2008, he received heavy criticism for purchasing a costly presidential jet and closure of media channels owned by opposition leader and mayor of Antananarivo—Andry Rajoelina,which triggered popular disapproval of his policies… That gave Rajoelina the chance to champion a popular unrest that began from January 2009 and ended in March with Marc Ravalomanana being compelled to resign from office… Only for Andry Rajoelina to take over with military support—in what seemed more like a power transfer but viewed by the international community as a coup.
For this reason, Ravalomanana fled Madagascar to South Africa. He remained there until the coast was clear for him to return later in 2012 with the promise not to partake in the coming election scheduled for December that year.