Economy At Stake As Madagascar Tallies Presidential Votes

Economy At Stake As Madagascar Tallies Presidential Votes

They are still counting the votes from Madagascar’s recent presidential election but people are already hoping it will encourage investors and donors to return to the Indian Ocean island, four years after a coup destroyed its economy and poverty took over.

Madagascar has struggled to once again attract tourists and court oil and mining giants since street protests and mutinous troops swept former disc jockey Andry Rajoelina into power in 2009, reports Reuters.

It may take more than a week before the election result is final; the electoral commission (CENIT) has up until November 8 to announce a provisional result.

According to EU observers, while there were no signs of voter intimidation there had been some problems with voter registration and voting materials had been missing at some of the 20,000 polling stations.

“The conditions are there for a transparent and credible vote,” said Maria Muniz de Urquiza, head of the EU mission.

Foreign donors such as the European Union, International Monetary Fund and World Bank have frozen funds to the country since the coup. Finance Minister Lantoniaina Rasoloelison told Reuters the island would find it hard to meet its spending needs unless foreign donors resumed support within three months of a new president being elected. “Foreign direct investment into Madagascar has slumped to a projected $460 million this year from $1.36 billion in 2009, World Bank data shows,” reports Reuters.

Currently 9 out of 10 people in the country of 22 million live on less than $2 a day.

During the election campaign, presidential hopefuls crossed the island located off Africa promising tax cuts, better management of the island’s oil, nickel, cobalt and gold and a crackdown on corruption.