Creating Opportunity in Madagascar

IFC is helping bring communication services to rural and poor areas of Madagascar through the innovative Village Phone Project, which also promotes entrepreneurship and creates jobs.

Since 2008, IFC has worked with the Madagascar subsidiary of Zain, a pan-African and Middle Eastern mobile telecommunications company, to bring modern communications technology to Madagascar’s vast rural areas – where making a telephone call has until recently been a luxury.

Village Phone is a donor-funded project that creates sustainable microenterprises in rural areas of Madagascar by providing entrepreneurs with training, financing, and technical and business support.

The program provides entrepreneurs with the equipment they need to sell telephone airtime in their local communities, such as a solar panel, which enables them to act as rural pay phones and to recharge cell phones

Millions benefitting

About 6,000 Village Phone Operators are blanketing Madagascar with reliable communications services. Each operator serves an average of 500 clients, meaning millions on the island are benefitting from telephone access.

The Village Phone partnership model is unique because it meets the needs of all parties. Consumers in rural markets gain access to telephone services; local entrepreneurs have an income-generating business; telecom partners deepen their market penetration and meet their mandates to expand access into rural areas.

SME Toolkit

Besides the highly-successful Village Phone Program, IFC is working in other ways to support entrepreneurship and private sector development in Madagascar.

Businessmen and women on the island are benefitting from IFC’s SME Toolkit, an online, interactive program that uses the latest communication technologies to help smaller businesses learn sustainable management practices.

Zain and a network of local training firms and institutions are helping expand access to the SME Toolkit, which is freely accessible online to entrepreneurs in Madagascar, and was developed in partnership with IBM.

Aida Der Hovanessian, IFC Country Manager in Madagascar said, “We are pleased, together with Zain, to bring the SME Toolkit to the Madagascar market to support the growth of smaller businesses in the country. Supporting smaller businesses is a major focus of IFC’s work in Africa and a stronger small business sector in Madagascar will help create employment and generate growth in the country.”

For more information contact:
Sabrina Hadjadj Aoul
Communications Officer
Johannesburg, South Africa
Tel: +27 11 731 3175