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US lifts restrictions on assistance to Madagascar in light of solid elections

WASHINGTON--The United States lifted all remaining restrictions on direct assistance to Madagascar Tuesday in light of successful elections and installation of a new government five years after a 2009 coup.

Madagascar's new President Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who was sworn into office in January, launched a charm offensive against the world's biggest aid institutions earlier this year hoping to revive the support to his impoverished country.

Major donors like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United States and the European Union cut off the flow of aid to the Indian Ocean island after the coup.

That in turn spurred private investors to pull out, aggravating the economic woes of one of the world's poorest countries.

“We have lifted all remaining restrictions on direct assistance to Madagascar,” State Department spokeswoman Jan Psaki said in a statement.

According to the World Bank, around 30,000 jobs were directly lost after the 2009 coup. The country was hit especially hard by losing the trade privileges that helped it export to the United States.

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