Rho (Milan) - Madagascar has a rapidly growing economy, was historically influential in its region, and has a political situation that has stabilised after recent institutional crises.
This island state off the eastern coast of Africa is working determinedly to improve the living conditions of its people, said President Hery Rajaonarimampianina. It has the support of Italy, with which "we have very old relations," he said at celebrations for its National Day at Milan Expo 2015. The president said tourism and agriculture are among the main areas in which Italian businessmen can play a leading role. "Our nation has exceptional natural wealth, and we are committed to preserving and promoting it to allow everyone to admire our extraordinary biodiversity." Madagascar is an increasingly important international tourist destination, with 10 percent of the world's biodiversity: 91 percent of reptiles, 80 percent of flowering plants, 74 percent of mammals, and 46 percent of birds unique to the island. President Rajaonarimampianina said the country has more than eight million hectares of arable land, and the government has launched policies to "improve the productivity and competitiveness of the sector". It has also increased resources "to upgrade infrastructure, purchase equipment to be used in agriculture, and to construct works for irrigation of the fields". He concluded: "despite its distance Madagascar offers many opportunities: Come and visit us, discover us and invest in us." (AGI)