US removes aid restrictions on Madagascar

Washington, USA: The United States said on Tuesday it lifted all remaining restrictions on direct assistance to Madagascar after the country's successful 2013 elections and the installation of a new government.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki added that as the African Union had lifted its suspension of Madagascar's membership, Washington invited Madagascar President Hery Rajaonarimampianina to the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in August.

A coup in 2009 had prompted international donors to cut ties to the Indian Ocean island, hitting the country's economy and deepening poverty.

A senior official at the World Bank said last week it would give Madagascar $400 million in financial support over the next three years, after the Washington-based lender restored ties with the country following its peaceful election.

The State Department said the United States provided Madagascar more than $55 million in food security and health programs in fiscal 2013.