To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British citizens are resident in Madagascar; and what relationships are established between Madagascar and the United Kingdom in the (a) economic, (b) political and (c) cultural fields.
Our embassy in Antananarivo estimates that there are some 160 British citizens in Madagascar.
Bilateral links between Madagascar and the UK are strong. We have been working hard to maintain these, despite the difficult political and economic situation that has developed since the disputed presidential election in December 2001. We continue to support the efforts of the Organisation of African Unity to broker an agreement between the parties which will break the political impasse.
The UK supports a number of small scale projects in Madagascar, particularly in the area of penal reform, and a number of British environmental NGOs are active there. Cultural links are growing: the BBC World Service rebroadcasts locally on FM, and there is increasing interest in learning English.