Potential Hot Spots: July 26, 2002

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International donors are now coughing up cash for Madagascar. The World Bank announced that over the next four years Madagascar will receive a series of loans and grants totaling 2.3 billion dollars. France, the former colonial master (which intrigued in the recent spate of troubles by supporting the defunct Ratsiraka government) will kick in 150 million dollars. The US will donate 100 million dollars. From the US perspective its a statement that peace pays. The Madagascan civil war didnt. According to World Bank figures, the islands GDP has dropped 9.3 percent during the first six months of 2002. (The Ravalomanana-Ratsiraka fracas started in December 2001.) Sure, fear, distrust, and anarchic conditions tend to distract folks work slides. Ratsirakas economic and petrol strangulation strategy, though it failed to defeat Ravalomanana, still had bottom line consequences. While the firefights during the war were few and physical destruction on the island minimal, the Ratsiraka strategy of controlling ports and attempting to isolate pro-Ravalomanana areas with well-placed roadblocks certainly contributed to the economic decline. (Austin Bay)


 

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