Building Capacity, Changing Norms: Rapid Results in Madagascar, 2005-2009

Jonathan (Yoni) Friedman

Madagascar president Marc Ravalomanana won office under the slogan “rapid and sustainable development,” but by 2004, two years into his presidency, progress had been frustratingly slow. The government’s risk-averse and weakly coordinated administrative culture was hindering implementation of the president’s reform agenda. His chief of staff, Henri Roger Ranaivoson, led a pilot project, called Rapid Results, to increase rice production in four of the country’s 22 administrative regions in response to a steep drop in production that year, which, coupled with the rising global price of rice, threatened the livelihoods of millions of Malagasy. The pilot project produced some impressive and previously elusive benefits, increasing production by 60% in one critical region. Enthusiastic about the gains and intrigued by the ways the fast-paced project had challenged administrative norms, Ranaivoson, with the president’s backing, introduced the project management tool in central ministries and other regions as well as across a variety of sectors, including family planning, local tax collection and birth registration. Although a 2009 coup d’├ętat cut off efforts to institutionalize Rapid Results, a cadre of civil servants and partnering nongovernmental organizations continued to use elements of the approach into 2012.

Year of publication: 
Princeton Innovations for Successful Societies
Themes and sectors: 
Public administration
Case story length: 
16 pages

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