Madagascar names Razafindravonona as finance minister

ANTANANARIVO, April 18 Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:53am EDT

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ANTANANARIVO, April 18 (Reuters) - Madagascar has named Jean Razafindravonona finance and budget minister, making him part of a 31-member cabinet crucial to ending a political crisis on the Indian Ocean island state.

The country's economy slumped after a 2009 military coup. President Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who took office in January, has pledged to woo foreign investors and tourists back to Madagascar, which is famed for its exotic wildlife and also boasts nickel, cobalt, coal, iron ore and uranium deposits.

Analysts said Razafindravonona has a good grasp of the management of public finances, earned during a long stint as the director of the budget office in the finance ministry.

They however added it was a little too early to tell if he will nurse the ailing economy back into good health.

"The question is whether he will be able to put in place good financial governance and stable institutions which investors can have confidence in," said Hugues Rajaonson, an economist.

The appointment of the cabinet on Saturday follows that of Kolo Christophe Laurent Roger as prime minister, a key condition for the resumption of lending by the World Bank.

In Madagascar, the president wields the most power. The prime minister's job is to run the day-to-day affairs of government and to implement the president's policies and orders.

The International Monetary Fund restored ties with Madagascar in March. External financing made up 40 percent of the island's budget until donors withdrew aid after rebel troops led by a former disc jockey, Andry Rajoelina, seized power in 2009.

(Reporting by Lovasoa Rabary; Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Larry King)

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