The African Development Bank Group and Madagascar has signed loan and grant worth US$ 15.3 million to finance the Manombo Irrigation Area Rehabilitation Project (PRPIM) in the south-western part of the country.
The agreements for the loan of US$ 14.82 million and grant of US$ 480,000 from the African Development Fund (ADF), the concession window of the Bank Group, were signed in Tunis by the Bank Group's Vice President for Sector Operations, Mrs Zeinab El-Bakri, and Madagascar's Finance and Budget Minister, Haja Nirina Razafinjatovo.
An AfDB statement received in Accra on Wednesday said the support would cover 82% of the entire project cost.
Mrs El-Bakri said that the project would help improve living conditions and incomes of the people through investments in rural infrastructure, improving food production and providing secure access to land as well as credit facilities.
"The Manombo Irrigation Area Rehabilitation project, which is in line with Madagascar Rural Development Action plan, will benefit about 48,000 inhabitants of the area…and reinforce the long and fruitful cooperation between the African Development Fund and the government (of Madagascar) with the successful examples of the Lower Mangoky Irrigation Area Rehabilitation as well as the preventive campaign against locust invasions," she said.
Razafinjatovo said the project was in line with one of the first pillars of the government's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) which focused on the rehabilitation of rural infrastructure and improvement of governance with a view to fostering growth and increasing agricultural production and fisheries.
He said the country had witnessed 30 years of fruitful relations with the Bank Group and gave the assurance that the financial support "will be carefully deployed in the fight against poverty and for the general improvement of the Malagasy economy".
The project aims at reducing rural poverty in the South West region where poverty levels in rural areas stand at 73.5%, as against 52% in urban areas. This is in line with the government's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and the Madagascar Action Plan.
The Bank Group commenced operations in Madagascar in 1977. To date, its commitments in the country net of cancellations stand at 293.5 million UA (US$ 472.5 million).