Press Release: Managing Director's Visit to Madagascar

July 10, 2003

At the invitation of H.E. President Ravalomanana of the Republic of Madagascar, Horst Köhler, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, visited Antananarivo today. Mr. Köhler met H.E. President Ravalomanana, members of the government, Parliamentarians, representatives of civil society and Madagascar's development partners.

At the conclusion of his visit, Mr. Köhler issued the following statement:

"I have been very pleased to visit Madagascar and to have the opportunity to continue an exchange of views with President Ravalomanana, which we began when he visited the IMF in Washington on May 28, 2003. I have also had an opportunity for fruitful 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. I agree with President Ravalomanana that the private sector should be the engine of growth in Madagascar, complementing the government's ambitious program of investment in economic and social infrastructure and improved services to the population.

"I am pleased a key element of the government's program is improved governance, critical for encouraging investments in Madagascar. The President's recent appointment of a chairperson for the high level anti-corruption commission is 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. We have 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, I have 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 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. In a country such as Madagascar, sustainable growth means broad improvements in the productivity and welfare of the people. 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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