Returning Arab donors target Madagascar's infrastructure
28 April 2014
Arab donors are pushing to re-establish ties with Madagascar quickly even as most other development partners await the green light from multilaterals such as the IMF.
A top Madagascar official said infrastructure development was one of the areas the Arabs are keen on as the country looks to be fully readmitted into the international community.
The Indian ocean island had been isolated following a military coup in 2009 but last year held elections to bring to a close an interim administration.
The IMF has recognised the new government but is said to be preparing a formal programme for aid-dependent Madagascar.
"One delegation from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) has been in Antananarivo since Monday. The delegates held talks at the Finances and Budget ministry today," Col Botomanovatsara, the Malagasy Public Works and Meteorology minister, told the Africa Review on Tuesday.
Talks touched on the road building project around the city of Antananarivo to ease chronic congestion.
The capital has a population of 2.5 million--some 10 per cent of the country's total but basic infrastructure remains creaky.
A daily average of an additional one million people from the suburbs and other regions also make their way into the capital to conduct business.
"The ministry has deeply thought abo ut the solutions. We were convinced that the building of new roads outside the town is a realistic way to solve the problem," the minister said. Authorities are further looking to expand the city.
The planned infrastructure constitutes a giant buckle 100 km length around the capital that also passes through the suburbs. The new roads are expected to connect the five national roads already serving the capital and with the country's main airport of Ivato.
"The total cost of the project is yet to be determined. It depends on the outcome of the study being conducted by the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA)," he said. The construction of one kilometre of new road averages Ar700-800 million ($289,772-$331,168) in Madagascar, excluding other components such as bridges.
A delegation from BADEA is on assessment in the country. "We had talks with the government. We are disposed to provide technical assistance as a donation for the country. We are now diagnosing the (traffic) issue in order to propose the adequate solutions," Mr Khalib Ben Salak, a project analyst from the bank, told journalists.
The master plan of the new roads project at the Antananarivo's surroundings will be submitted to the bank's board of directors for approval by June.
"Once the initiative was approved, the Malagasy government plans to launch the invitations to tender by the end of the year," Col Botomanovatsara told the Africa Review.
The Saudis are also involved in the project, together with the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The bank has in recent years set aside $8 million to finance five different projects across Madagascar, with new projects lined up following successful completion.
Original article by RIVONALA RAZAFISON