France wipes Madagascar's public debt

27th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

ANTANANARIVO, July 27 (AFP) - France will wipe out the remainder of the public debt owed to it by Madagascar, totalling some EUR 70 million, French President Jacques Chirac said Tuesday during a brief visit to the island state.

ANTANANARIVO, July 27 (AFP) - France will wipe out the remainder of the public debt owed to it by Madagascar, totalling some EUR 70 million, French President Jacques Chirac said Tuesday during a brief visit to the island state.

The announcement that Paris will forgive the rest of the large Indian Ocean country's debt to the former colonial power follows previous cancellations of parts of the sum, initially put at a total USD 4.7 billion.

"The aim is move on hand in hand into a much greater development effort," Chirac said at a press conference after talks and lunch with Madagascan President Marc Ravalomanana.

Tens of thousands of people earlier turned out to welcome Chirac in the Madagascan capital, where he and Ravalomanana plunged straight into the throng almost as soon as the French leader and his wife arrived from the airport.

Children and youths shoved their way to the front of the flag-waving crowd in the Anosibe district to welcome the French leader, who unveiled a plaque to mark the completion of the project to give the area proper roads and sanitary facilities.

Anosibe has about 80,000 residents and is the location for the biggest retail and wholesale market on Madagascar, which lies off the south-eastern African coast.

City mayor Patrick Ramiarimanana described the aid scheme, which cost France EUR 7 million (USD 8.5 million), as an "exemplary programme". The municipality paid for the rest of the EUR 9 million project.

The French leader was paying a visit of a few hours to the former French colony, on his way to the French island of La Reunion for a holiday with his wife Bernadette.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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