Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series about China’s One Belt, One Road infrastructure initiative, also known as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
In January, Chinese Foreign Minster Wang Yi started his annual Africa tour with a stop in Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo—a sign of the importance Beijing places on Madagascar’s role in the One Belt, One Road initiative. Last month, during Malagasy President Hery Rajaonarimampianina’s state visit to Beijing, the two countries signed several agreements to accelerate Chinese investment in energy, aviation, transportation, ports and airport construction. In an email interview, Dr. Cornelia Tremann, an expert on Sino-Malagasy relations who is now a researcher at the West Africa Research Center in Dakar, Senegal, details the historical ties that provide the foundation for this relationship.
WPR: Historically, what has been the nature of China-Madagascar ties, and how does China’s engagement there differ from elsewhere in Africa?