Eastern Africa Economy


According to Countryaah.com, Madagascar, the world’s fourth largest island and former French colony, became independent in 1960. Madagascar has long been plagued by power struggles and is one of the world’s poorest countries. The trade union movement is divided but has some influence.


Country Facts

State condition: Republic, federal state

Surface: 587 041 km²

Capital: Atananarivo

Language: Malagasy and French

Labor market and economy:

Madagascar’s economy is focused on agriculture and fishing with vanilla as its main export product. Nearly half of the country’s trade is with France. The tourism industry is the fastest growing industry. Climate change means that the country is increasingly affected by cyclones with devastating consequences for agriculture.

One of the largest foreign investments in Africa concerns Ambatovy’s nickel mining project, which currently has 8,000 employees and provides export earnings to the country, but union activity is discouraged at the company. The environmental movement has also criticized the project for predation on the environment.

More than half of the capital’s residents make a living in the informal sector. Working conditions are often very poor; forced labor occurs and child labor is common.


The country is undeveloped and the economy is based on agriculture. The Central Trade Union Confederation Malawi Congress of Trade Unions, MCTU, is affiliated to the World Trade Union Confederation, the International Trade Union Confederation, ITUC and the Organization of African Trade Union Unity, OATUU. There are many Swedish trade union projects in Malawi. See AllCityPopulation.com for country flags of all African countries.


Country Facts

State condition: Republic, unitary state

Surface: 118 484 km²

Capital: Lilongwe

Language: Chewa and official English languages

Labor market and economy:

The economy is one-sided and poorly developed. The dependence on aid is great. The agricultural sector employs 80% of the workforce and accounts for 35% of GDP. The main exports are tobacco, tea and sugar. The government is trying to differentiate the economy and get away from the consideration of tobacco as the most important export commodity. A problem with dependence on agriculture is also climate change, which means that the country is increasingly affected by drought. In 2016, a state of emergency was declared in the country due to extreme drought for the second year in a row.

Malawi is one of the most affected countries when it comes to AIDS. Many orphaned children contribute to the widespread use of child labor, especially in the tobacco industry and among domestic workers.


The archipelago east of Madagascar gained its independence from Britain in 1968. About 2/3 of the population is of Indian origin. Mauritius is a stable multi-party democracy. GDP per capita is one of the highest in Africa. There are several trade union central organizations.


Country Facts

State condition: Republic

Surface: 2040 km2

Capital: Port Louis

Language: Official English language. The others are French, Hindi, Moorish

Labor market and economy:

Mauritius’ economy has long been unilaterally based on sugar production, but its economic base has widened as the textile industry, the high-income financial sector and, above all, tourism have developed. Now more than 50 percent of the workforce works in the service industry. Mauritius has the second highest GDP per capita in Africa (after the Seychelles). Unemployment is low, there is rather a shortage of labor and there are now 45,000 immigrant workers, mainly from the countries around the Indian Ocean. Especially in the textile industry, where working conditions are very poor, the proportion of migrant workers is high.

Foreign investment takes place to a large extent in the economic free zones. Chinese investment has increased markedly and there are often protests against poor working conditions.

Climate change and rising sea levels are a threat to the low-lying island.


According to Bridgat.com, Mozambique which won its independence from Portugal in 1975 is one of the world’s poorest countries. Civil wars and natural disasters have since made development more difficult, which has, however, stabilized somewhat in recent years. There are two central trade unions. The largest, OTM, was previously part of the liberation movement but is now more independent and affiliated with the World Trade Union,International Trade Union Confederation, ITUC.


Country Facts

State condition: Republic, unitary state

Surface: 799 380 km²

Capital: Maputo

Language: Portuguese official languages, Makua, Tsonga and Swahili are the three largest of about 20 other languages ​​in the country

Labor market and economy:

In 2016, amendments were introduced to the constitution that made the regions more independent, an issue that had previously contributed to high tensions in the country. The goal of economic development is primarily to raise foreign capital to build infrastructure and train the workforce. Mozambique has large natural resources in which foreign interests, mainly South African, Russian, Brazilian, Indian and American companies, have invested. A huge natural gas reserve that could become the largest infrastructure project in Africa is expected to be able to provide the state with very large revenues from 2022. The mining industry currently accounts for 50 percent of the country’s exports.

Extensive privatizations and deregulations have been implemented.

Only just over 10 per cent of the able-bodied part of the population has a formal employment. Unemployment is high, 24 percent in 2018. Among young people in the larger cities, only one in four has a job. Many are trying to get to South Africa to get a job. The country is one of the 10 poorest in the world and has large debts.

Major investments are also being made to get agriculture started, but in some years Mozambique is affected by both floods and droughts, which is expected to become more common with the climate changes that are beginning to be felt. In March 2019, the northern part of the country was hit by the worst flood disaster in the country’s history with over 1000 dead and large parts of the country’s second largest city, Beira, being devastated.