- Madagascar's President Marc Ravalomanana was hailed for his economic policies by Horst Köhler, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who visited Antananarivo today. In particular, Mr Ravalomanana was praised for his anti-corruption initiative.
Mr Köhler was in Madagascar at the invitation of President Ravalomanana and Malagasy authorities. In Antananarivo, the IMF leader had talks with the President, government officials and representatives of civil society, surrounding the economic development of the island after the political crisis. He further had discussions with members of the government on strategies for promoting sustainable growth and reducing poverty.
- I have been particularly impressed with the commitment of President Ravalomanana and the government to improve the environment for private investment and growth, Mr Köhler told the press after his meeting with the President.
The IMF leader said he agreed with President Ravalomanana that the private sector should be "the engine of growth in Madagascar," only complementing the government's "ambitious programme of investment in economic and social infrastructure and improved services to the population."
- I am pleased a key element of the government's programme is improved governance, critical for encouraging investments in Madagascar, said Mr Köhler. He in particular praised the Malagasy government programme to combat corruption.
President Ravalomanana's recent appointment of a chairperson for the high level anti-corruption commission was termed "an important step towards better governance, as is his formation of a joint public/private committee to oversee reforms in the Customs and Tax administrations."
Mr Köhler said he and the Malagasy President had discussed "ways in which our collaboration in support of these and other important reforms can be strengthened."
Last year Madagascar experienced a year of crisis, with severe consequences for economic growth and poverty reduction. Against this background, Mr Köhler said he had been "particularly pleased with the recent completion of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), which benefited from wide consultation among different stake-holders, including representatives of civil society."
The PRSP now provides the framework for the efforts of the government, its development partners, and civil society to improve the living conditions of the Malagasy people, especially the least-advantaged. Most of IMF funds to developing countries goes through these types of programmes.
- In a country such as Madagascar, sustainable growth means broad improvements in the productivity and welfare of the people, Mr Köhler concluded. "The strategy outlined in the PRSP and the government's efforts to implement that strategy are strongly supported by the IMF and the international community."
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