Madagascar got some good news last week when US President Barack Obama reinstated its eligibility for benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a preferential trade program aimed at assisting the economies of sub-Saharan Africa.
The country had been without those benefits since a 2009 coup d’etat, but since then has gotten its act together. In late 2013, it successfully held democratic elections, the final results of which were unanimously validated by the African Union, the World Bank and the United Nations’ secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon. It’s those developments that inspired Obama to reinstate Madagascar as a US trade partner.
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It may be rugby but it’s rugby with a difference. When the children of Madagascar take to the pitch, they usually do so & barefoot. So, it was quite an event when, in early July, two youth teams & turned up at Andohatapenaka stadium in Antananarivo and was presented with boots for the first time in their lives.
Two exhibition matches were held at the stadium as part of the ‘Tackle Hunger’ partnership between the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Rugby Board (IRB).
‘Tackle Hunger’ is a ten-year partnership between WFP and the IRB, which raises awareness about WFP’s life-saving work on the frontlines of hunger around the world and aims to mobilise funds to support initiatives like school feeding. Next year’s Rugby World Cup in England presents an opportunity for the ‘Tackle Hunger’ partnership to highlight the strong link between good nutrition and the intellectual and physical development in children that can support sporting excellence.