Madagascar’s president announced the replacement of eight ministers late on Sunday, including a new finance minister, after the government was dissolved earlier this month amid mounting public frustration over power cuts and other issues.
Air force commander and businessman Jean Ravelonarivo was last week sworn in as the new premier.
While 22 ministers, including the minister of mining and petroleum, will keep their jobs, there were shake-ups in the ministries of health, culture, trade and the environment.
Maurice Gervais Rakotoarimanana, an accountant who has worked with the World Bank, will be the next minister of finance and budget.
“This government is ready to fight. Ready to fight against poverty, ready to fight for the development of infrastructure, for education, for health,” President Hery Rajaonarimampianina said in a press conference after the appointment, adding that “special attention” will be given to building the energy sector.
The mineral-rich island nation has been struggling to rebuild its economy, which was battered after a 2009 coup that drove away donors and investors.
The death toll from flooding across Madagascar following a tropical storm last week climbed to 68 people as the Indian Ocean island nation faces more storms, the National Office for Disaster Management said.
At least 131,460 people have been registered as “storm victims,” while 45,600 people have been forced to flee their homes in the wake of Tropical Storm Chedza, the office said in an e-mailed statement Monday. The government plans to take steps to protect residents from future flooding, President Hery Rajaonarimampianina told reporters Sunday in the capital, Antananarivo.
“Madagascar shall take measures to reduce illegal buildings and dwellings and to ensure Antananarivo has enough evacuation channels to avoid any repetitive flooding,” he said while announcing his new cabinet.
At least 260 people have died from flooding and torrential rains in Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi this month. One of two tropical areas of low pressure in the Indian Ocean is being “monitored closely” for possible development into a storm, according to accuweather.com
The battle against a plague of locusts in Madagascar is in danger of being lost, as funding to continue efforts against widespread infestations runs out, putting 13 million people at risk of food insecurity, the United Nations agricultural agency said today.
A three-year anti-locust programme was launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) alongside the Madagascan Government in 2013 in response to a plague that swept the country the previous year. It successfully halted the spread but the risks of relapse are high in the rainy season, which provides ideal breeding conditions, an FAO press release said.
“Taking action now is critical to ensure the significant efforts made so far, financially and technically, are built upon rather than lost,” said Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO’s Emergency and Rehabilitation Division. “The current campaign is essential to reinforce the decline of the current plague, avoiding any relapse, and then continue towards a full-fledged locust recession.”
The first quarter of the year is especially important because it corresponds to the second phase of breeding. Most locusts present at this time are wingless ‘hoppers’, which are easier to combat because they are more sensitive to pesticides and slower moving than winged adults. After last year’s successes, the FAO warns that hoppers will gather in smaller groups, making them harder to find and requiring more ground and aerial surveys to do so.
UN News Centre