BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, June 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, will visit Madagascar on June 11-13 to confirm the resumption of development cooperation with the country and launch the discussions on the programming of EU funding for the period 2014-2020. The visit will contribute to mark the return to normality in the EU-Madagascar relations, following the end of the political crisis in the country.
Commissioner Piebalgs said:”The European Union stands side by side with Madagascar on its new path towards stability, good governance and reform. Now it will be important to kick-start the programming of EU cooperation for the coming years and make sure we focus on those areas which can have the greatest positive impact in the country’s development.”
Commissioner Piebalgs and President of Madagascar Hery Rajaonarimampianina will launch the works to repair a national road in Morondava (the RN8) that was damaged by storms and cyclones. In the same region the Commissioner will also visit a health centre, a regional directorate of the national education system, and a small dam to improve agricultural development, all of which have received EU funding.
The Commissioner will also visit another EU-funded project to provide food supplements for children between 6 and 24 months that are affected by malnutrition. 36,000 children have benefitted from this project through a total of 36 nutrition centres.
During the visit, the Commissioner will as well meet the Prime Minister Roger Kolo, key ministers of the government and other stakeholders.
During the crisis period, official development aid was suspended by almost all donors, including the EU, but support to the vulnerable population was provided through local and international NGOs, international organisations.
The EU has been funding basic health services covering a population of more than 9.3 million. During the transition, the EU also funded school kits for 3.8 million children in primary schools, as well as providing school meals for almost 220,000 children in over 1,200 primary schools.
In order to underpin the democratic transition in the short-term, the EU is currently preparing a post-electoral package of €97 million which will support the rebuilding of state institutions and strengthen the capacity of the administration. This will include helping to bridge the fiscal gap, strengthening the delivery of basic public social services (such as health) and re-starting political dialogue towards major reforms. The funding will be part of the overall bilateral aid package of €455 million, currently foreseen for the country under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) for the period 2014-2020.