WASHINGTON May 6 Madagascar would be able to
access up to $47.4 million under a loan program from the
International Monetary Fund to help the Indian Ocean island
boost economic growth and reduce poverty, the IMF said on
The loan agreement, which must still be approved by the
IMF's board in June, comes under the Rapid Credit Facility, a
quick-disbursing fund for poor countries recovering from natural
disasters or conflict.
Madagascar, famed for its wildlife and eyed by foreign
companies for its minerals, has struggled to lure back tourists
and court oil and mining giants since a coup in 2009, which also
prompted international donors to cut off ties. Its economy
slumped and poverty deepened.
The IMF resumed its relationship with Madagascar earlier
this year, following peaceful elections.
Madagascar's cash-starved government has cut back on
infrastructure and social spending in recent years, with about
90 percent of the population now living on less than $2 a day,
the IMF said.
"Madagascar has urgent balance of payments and budgetary
needs that, if not addressed, could result in further economic
disruption," George Tsibouris, the head of the IMF mission, said
in a statement after visiting the country.
"It will be crucial to pursue policies that address pressing
social and development needs while maintaining macroeconomic and
The IMF said Madagascar agreed to improve the collection of
taxes and customs revenue, increase funding for social programs
and public investment, start clearing domestic arrears, and
eventually address the issue of fuel subsidies.
(Reporting by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)