UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is praising Madagascar for good governance and its fight against corruption and poverty. He commended the country as a model of economic recovery and lasting development. Mr. Annan made the remarks yesterday during his first official visit to Madagascar. He also noted the country?s achievements in the field of environmental protection. Mr. Annan?s visit is part of a farewell Africa tour before he leaves his post later this year.

Oliver Ranaivomanana is a reporter with Madagascar?s national television. In an interview with Voice of America reporter Ashenafi Abedje, Rananaivomanana says the Madagascar?s people and government feel honored by the secretary general?s visit. He says Mr. Annan?s visit ?lends further legitimacy and credibility to President Marc Ravalomanana?s government.? 

Ranaivomanana says the past five years have been a period of learning, and that the Malagasy people have been learning about the principles and application of democracy. He says the biggest achievement is that ?the government now knows how to efficiently run elections, and avoid the problems the country faced during the 1991 elections.? Ranaivomanana says his country maintains memberships in regional organizations like SADC and COMESA. He adds Madagascar also enjoys healthy diplomatic and trade relations with countries throughout Africa.