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

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’état 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.
Jonathan Friedman drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Antananarivo and Fort Dauphin, Madagascar, during May 2012. Case published August 2012.
Associated Interview(s):  Nadim Matta
rapid results
Madagascar Action plan
Focus Area(s)
Centers of Government
Civil Service
Critical Tasks
Evaluating performance
Inter-ministerial coordination
Performance management system
Rapid results
Core Challenge
Capacity (capability traps)
Country of Reform
Case Studies
Jonathan (Yoni) Friedman