Madagascar, represented by Mrs Florence Isabelle Rafaramalala, sp. Ratsimba, Chargé d’affaires a.i., attended the celebration unique of the 75th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Iceland at the invitation of the President of Iceland, HEM Gudni Th. Johannesson and his spouse Eliza Reid.
72 countries honoured this event with the presence of their representatives, probably not in a grandiose and spectacular way, but setting an example of the diversity and inclusiveness of Islandic society, drawing its source from different countries, without losing its way in the permanent quest for a common identity. Timing, solidarity and inclusiveness marked the day of the official celebration.
The two-day programme, on 17 and 18 June, began with a religious worship, reflecting and translating Iceland’s Christian civilisation, followed by the official ceremony where tradition meets modernity, young and old are in the same chorus, security guards and scouts are complementary. The buffet offered by Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson to the Diplomatic Corps was held at the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre on the 6th floor, the rest of the Building being open to the public, after a family photo on the stairs. Iceland is the safest country on the planet, without an army, according to the speech of the CD’s Dean, the Russian Ambassador during his speech at the reception of the presidential couple in Bessastadir in the afternoon. The President stressed the importance of multilateralism in addressing together the challenges of the present time, and thanked all countries for their presence, while renewing his commitment to deepening bilateral, regional and multilateral relations. The next day was a day of field exchanges, a visit to tourist sites and the City of Grindavik, pure wonders of nature transformed by the hard work of men.
As a reminder, the establishment of diplomatic relations between Iceland and Madagascar was sealed in New York at the United Nations on 22 September 2006. Apart from the common fact of being islands, even if Madagascar is almost 6 times bigger, with a population 74 times larger, the standard of living is significantly different.
Madagascar will therefore benefit from deepening relations, in terms of exchanges and technology transfer including geothermal control, some parts of the Big Island have the same geomorphological and geological features as Iceland, Iceland started its development with Hydropower, among other measures. In this sense, Madagascar will have much to learn from Iceland, following in Kenya’s footsteps, to achieve the President of the Republic’s vision in terms of energy production, tourism (2.6 million tourists in Iceland, for 350,000 inhabitants), hydropower, strengthening national identity and reducing the difference between rich and poor, in a spirit of internal dynamics and not following a mindset of “donor-receiver”.