Prime Minister Omer Beriziky declines invitation from Richard Branson

Beriziky at JNNBritish billionaire Richard Branson, owner and founder of Virgin Group, visited Madagascar last week to attend the first tourism fair organized by the National Tourism Office in Madagascar (ONTM), and to also work on a project to protect endangered lemurs. Although Branson enjoyed his time in the country, and even took an opportunity to play golf, he also had something else in mind. Branson wanted to open an air route between London and Antananarivo, and seek a lodge on the Big Island to come on Holiday.

To discuss these ambitious plans, Branson hoped to meet with Prime Minister Omer Beriziky during his stay. Before returning to London, Branson invited Beriziky to dinner; however, the Madagascan Prime Minister declined the invitation because he had planned a trip to Toamasina on June 9 to celebrate the 7th annual National Day of Nutrition (JNN), followed by a visit to Sambava on June 11 to meet with vanilla producers.

Beriziky’s priority to tour the provinces over meeting with Branson tells us a lot about his intentions to run in the upcoming presidential election, especially if Transition President Andry Rajoelina and his rival, former President Marc Ravalomanana, are prevented from running.

Source: Indian Ocean Newsletter
Photo Credit: Primature

President Andry Rajoelina and former Marc Ravalomanana: meeting after June 26, 2012

Pierrot RajaonariveloAnosy, June 12, 2012 — At a press briefing, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pierrot Rajaonarivelo (pictured on the left), gave journalists the following statement:

STATEMENT:
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Madagascar shall inform the public that the heads of state and government of the South African Development Community (SADC) met in a special session in Luanda (Republic of Angola) on June 1, 2012.

Addressing the Malagasy question, the Summit mandated the mediator of the SADC and Troika of the organization to facilitate the dialogue and urgently convene a meeting between Mr. Andry Rajoelina, President of the Transition, and Mr. Marc Ravalomanana, former President of the Republic. This meeting will ensure full implementation of the roadmap and create a climate conducive to holding elections, free and fair.

Taking note of this proposal from the SADC summit, the Government of the National Union had no objection to issuing such a meeting in a third country, after June 26, 2012. It is in fact desirable that everyone can prepare for this national holiday with some peace of mind.

Source: Andry Rajoelina Action
Photo Credit: MadaGate

Six soldiers shot dead by dahalo cattle thieves

People's Armed Forces in MadagascarSix soldiers were shot dead last week by a group of dahalo bandits in Madagascar’s Southeastern Anosy region.

After a series of cattle thefts occurred at gunpoint last month, where just about 1,000 oxen were stolen by over 400 dahalo bandits, initial measures were taken to capture the thieves.

Fifty armed military soldiers set off to dismantle the large criminal group in an attempt to reclaim the stolen cattle. During the pursuit, 19 of the soldiers were able to recover 106 cattle, while the other 31 soldiers continued their search for the perpetrators as they fled to the Befotaka region. Following after the bandits, the soldiers found themselves ambushed, with dahalo bandits open firing on the soldiers, spraying them repeatedly with heavy fire arms. Six soldiers were shot to death, with several others severely injured.

In response to the violent shootings, Transition President Andry Rajoelina took action by organizing one hundred more soldiers to return to Befotaka to break up the dangerous group of bandits, and continue recovering the remaining cattle.

Source: Third Report
Photo Credit: MadaGate

Andry Rajoelina agrees to constructive meeting with Ravalomanana

Rajoelina and Ravalomanana During an SADC Summit meeting earlier this month, the 15 member countries agreed on the essence of facilitating a meeting between Madagascar’s transition President Andry Rajoelina and former President Marc Ravalomanana. Despite a three-year feud since the assumption of Rajoelina’s presidency, both Rajoelina and Ravalomanana expressed cooperation by putting their rivalries to rest .

At the 2012 International Tourism Fair of Madagascar, held on the day following the Summit, Rajoelina expressed his position on meeting with Ravalomanana, stating: “there is no trouble meeting if this meeting will bring peace and stability in the country.” With his country in mind, Rajoelina suggests his willingness to meet with Ravalomanana for a constructive discussion.

Ravalomanana, who is currently exiled in South Africa, indicated that he is “ready to meet Rajoelina at any time, anywhere, to reach agreement on outstanding issues.”

With both Rajoelina and Ravalomanana cooperating with the SADC’s efforts towards reconciliation, the two may soon see each other face to face for the first time in years. What will transpire at their meeting remains an interesting question. Will Rajoelina and Ravalomanana reach an agreement?

Source: Bloomberg
Photo Credit: MadaGate

Madagascar to begin organizing presidential elections

Andry Rajoelina ElectionsMadagascar’s current economic crisis may have finally found its solution. In hopes to regain economic support from its international community, Madagascar’s Transition President Andry Rajoelina takes proactive measures with talks about organizing presidential elections for the coming year.

Since Andry Rajoelina took over former President Marc Ravalomanana’s place in 2009, the US dropped its AGOA deal with Madagascar, arguing that the transitional government was unconstitutional since Rajoelina was not democratically elected. The strong-felt impact which resulted only magnified when Europe followed as well.

In light of their crisis, the UN asked the SADC to coach Madagascar towards new elections. Accordingly, the SADC laid out a roadmap to help Madagascar with their political goals.

Last week, Rajoelina reviewed progress of the roadmap with UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon. Following their meeting, Rajoelina told the press that his country is ready to start organizing presidential elections. Rajoelina met last Friday with the chairman of SADC in Angola to further discuss the roadmap. Madagascar will probably hold elections towards the end of this year or in the early spring of 2013.

First Commercial Partnership Agreement between EU and 4 african countries

europe afriqueYesterday, on the 14th of May 2012, the commercial partnership between the European Union and four eastern and southern african countries was intiated: Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and the Zimbabwe are all part of this agreement.

The deal implies that the EU will allow products imported from its partners on its markets without applying any special taxes or any quota. On their end, the african partners agree to treat european products on their markets the very same way their products are being treated on the EU market (no tax, no quota). This partnership will gradually materialize on a 15 years time span.

In 2007, the Comores, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zambia, and Zimbabwe all signed a first partnership agreement with the European Union. Five years later, the Comores and Zimbia got out of the game, but the other ones are now taking a step forward, and closer to the EU.

In 2000, the United States had signed a similar partnership agreement (AGOA) with some sub-saharan countries, from which Madagascar was excluded in 2010 because of Andry Rajoelina’s barely legal presidency. This is the USA’s loss, and the EU’s win.

Top 30 twitter handles to follow Madagascar news

A list of top 10 twitter pages and sites to follow current and accurate Madagascar social, economical and political news (in no particular order):

1. Madagascar Politics@Madapolitics
Providing the public with current & accurate information/news about the social, economical and political crisis in Madagascar.

2. Tananews @tananews
L’actualité 24/24 à Madagascar

3. Jeune Africa@jeune_afrique
Hebdomadaire de référence sur l’Afrique (politique, économie, culture, sport).

4. L’Express de Mada@LExpressMada
#LExpressMada est le compte officiel du quotidien #malgache

5. AllAfrica Français@allafricafrench

6. Madagascar Tribune@madatribune

7. Madagascar News Mix@madagascarnewsM
Get the Latest Madagascar News & Blogs from Multiple Sources Updated Hourly all in One Place. Your One Stop News Portal

8. Indian Ocean News @IndianOceanNews
The Indian Ocean Newsletter covers the political and economic news of African countries in the Indian Ocean region without compromise

9. News Mada Les Actus@newsmada
Les actus de Madagascar en continu.

10. Madatsara@madatsara
Portail d’informations sur Madagascar et les Malgaches.

11. Ambafrance Mada@Ambafrmada
Ambassade de France à Madagascar. Les tweets personnels de Jean-Marc Châtaigner

12. Faly Fa Malagasy@falyfamalagasy

13. Elbogany- @elbogany

14. Jean-Marc Châtaigner- @Jmchataigner
Ambassadeur de France à Madagascar (tous mes tweets sont personnels et ne reflètent aucune position officielle)

15. Mada Activist- @madaactivist
Malagasy citizen living in Tbilisi, Anarchist and Activist

16. John Uniack Davis@johnuniackdavis

17. US Embassy Madagascar @USMadagascar
The latest news from the American Embassy in Madagascar

18. Lova Rakotomalala@Irakoto
Editor Francophone Global Voices, Biomedical researcher, Health System/Int Development Consultant

19. AngloMalagasySociety@AngloMalagasy
Promoting links between Madagascar & the UK. Founded in 1961, the Anglo-Malagasy Society holds regular Madagascar-themed talks & events in London.

20. Erika Cologon Hajaji- @erikangady
Journaliste & Concepts TV Mes twits n’engagent à rien 😉

21. Andry Rajoelina @andryrajoelina
Président de la Haute Autorité de Transition de Madagascar et ancien maire d’Antananarivo | Compte officiel!

22. Thierry Andriamirado @tandriamirado
From Madagascar, IT Project Manager, Social Media, Linux since 1995, Web devel. (Joomla, Drupal etc..), Android, Electric Guitar

23. Marc Ravalomanana- @ravalomanana
ex- President de la république de Madagascar

24. Jeannot Charles @rovamanga
Antananarivo-Madagascar

25. Pierre Maury@pmalgachie

26. GTT Madagascar- @GTTmada

27. Vaovao Malagasy- @vaovaomalagasy

28. Cookies- @Cookiesmada
Information gles

29. Zo Andriamifidisoa@jentilisa
Malagasy Blogger known as Jentilisa

30. Sakay Mena- @Sakaymena
Madagasikara