Madagascar pines for more EU support

eMadagascar’s President Hery Rajaonarimampianina is spearheading a push for more investment and aid from the European Union in the wake of a promised $558 million aid .packageHry.
He is expected to sign a document titled National Indicative Programme (NIP) with the European commissioner for development, Mr Andris Piebalgs, in Brussels on November 23.
The signing is likely to result in the disbursement of the $558 million from the European Development Fund.
The island nation could also profit from other resources and global programmes as well as thematic loans afterward.
“Between Madagascar and the European Union (EU), all conditions are now fulfilled regarding the NIP,” a statement from the President Office said.
The document highlights programmes and projects to be funded by the EU within the framework of the Cotonou Agreement.
They cover three wide areas – political governance, infrastructures and energy, and rural development – which are all vital for economic growth.
Talks between Malagasy authorities and European representatives took place in Antananarivo on Thursday in a follow-up to earlier discussions in February.
The EU side was headed by Ms Claudia Wiedey-Nippold, the Union’s director for the Horn Africa, Eastern Africa, and the Indian Ocean region.
The EU envoy to Antananarivo, Mr Antonio Sanchez-Benedito, stressed on the occasion that the socio-economic situation in Madagascar has remained fragile.
The talks also provided an occasion to discuss the upcoming UN Climate Change conference in Paris and a donor conference on Madagascar planed for the second semester of 2016.
Time was also for the two parties to exchange information over international summits expected in Antananarivo next year.The meeting also discussed the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) summit and that of the International Francophone Organisation (OIF) which Madagascar will host next year.
Issues prevailing at the national level including insecurity, human rights, reform, local and senatorial polls were also discussed.
The political crisis occasioned by the 2009 coup led the EU to freeze grants to the island nation.
These constitute the biggest external support for the impoverished nation.