| ||Female stone breakers (about 600, aged 18 to 60) make up about 60 percent of the workforce in this quarry. But the children who used to work here have been going to school since May 2007, thanks to the intervention of an organization working through the International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC). Despite the fact that this country has adopted the convention governing the minimum working age, children under fifteen still make up 11 percent of the workforce. The scourge of child labor affects both boys and girls, and it is currently estimated that 2 million children and teenagers currently work in Madagascar. Nicknamed the “great red island” because of its lateritic soil, preponderant in the high plateaus at its center, Madagascar remains one of the poorest nations in the world, with half the population living below the poverty threshold. Eighty percent of the people work in agriculture, largely at a subsistence level and highly vulnerable to extreme weather phenomena, such as cyclones. In the secondary sector, which accounts for 15 percent of GDP, extractive industries are more significant than manufacturing. The United Nations has designed a human development indicator that takes into account life expectancy at birth, adult literacy rates, and education rates, along with the standard GDP per inhabitant. In 2005, the Republic of Madagascar ranked 150th on a global level, among the lowest 20 countries on the list.
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