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Madagascar President Nominates Air-Force General as Next Premier

Thursday, 15 Jan 2015 06:45 AM

Madagascar’s president nominated General Jean Ravelonarivo as the Indian Ocean island nation’s next prime minister, after the cabinet resigned over deteriorating living conditions.

The previous cabinet will continue to run the affairs of the government until new ministerial posts are announced, Roger Ralala, secretary-general in President Hery Rajaonarimampianina’s office, said in a statement on state television yesterday in the capital, Antananarivo. Ravelonarivo will replace Roger Kolo, who quit on Jan. 12.

Rajaonarimampianina assumed office a year ago with a pledge to improve living conditions by ending electricity shortages, reducing crime and boosting foreign investment. The elections that brought the 56-year-old to power were the first since a coup five years ago plunged the country into a political and economic crisis.

“The creation of a new government would be likely to boost relations with foreign donors, which have pledged financial support since Rajaonarimampianina became president in 2014,” Robert Besseling, principal Africa analyst at IHS Global Ltd. in London, said in an e-mailed note.

Economic growth slowed to a halt after the coup. The World Bank last year estimated nine out of every 10 people in the country of 22 million lives on less than $2 a day and a reduction in budget aid forced the government to reduce services. The crisis cost the economy, which relies on mainly tourism, agriculture, and mining, at least $8 billion in lost output, according to the bank.

Frequent Outages

Power cuts have become more frequent since Rajaonarimampianina took power, sparking protests and the removal of Fienena Richard as energy minister in October. At least one protester was killed in the eastern city of Toamasina during demonstrations on Christmas Eve over the outages.

Kolo’s effectiveness as a prime minister had been constrained by a rivalry between former President Marc Ravalomanana and former transitional President Andry Rajoelina, who ousted Ravalomanana in the 2009 coup, Besseling said. An impasse between the two resulted in a “political deadlock,” he said.

“Relations between President Rajaonarimampianina and Rajoelina, who was his former ally, have deteriorated,” Besseling said. “Meanwhile, Rajaonarimampianina has sought closer relations with Ravalomanana.”

During his seven-year rule, Ravalomanana pursued policies that encouraged foreign investment in the country, while Rajoelina sought to increase state participation in the economy, according to Besseling.

Madagascar, with a $10.8 billion economy, is forecast to grow 4 percent this year, compared with 3 percent last year, according to International Monetary Fund data. The country is the world’s second-biggest vanilla grower, while companies including Rio Tinto Plc, based in London, Canada’s Sherritt International Corp. and Australia’s Lemur Resources Ltd. operate mines there.

 

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Madagascar's president nominated General Jean Ravelonarivo as the Indian Ocean island nation's next prime minister, after the cabinet resigned over deteriorating living conditions.The previous cabinet will continue to run the affairs of the government until new ministerial...
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2015-45-15
Thursday, 15 Jan 2015 06:45 AM
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