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Three questions for Isabelle Berro-Amadeï - Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation

Visite de travail d’Isabelle Berro-Amadeï à Madagascar. Nutrisud ©Fitia

Madam Minister, you are just back from your first official trip with the Department of International Cooperation. What impressions did you take away from this working visit to Madagascar?

This first official trip was a memorable milestone in my new role as a government minister. That it was to Madagascar, the leading country in the Prince’s Government’s international cooperation programme, gave it even greater significance. Over the course of a week, the Monegasque delegation visited the civil, public and private partners who are working on the projects we support, as well as the beneficiaries of these projects. I was particularly touched by the welcome I received, and by the kindness and resilience shown by the people of Madagascar. I would like to pay tribute to the unwavering dedication of our Consul General in Madagascar, as well as the work and tremendous commitment of the teams from the Department of International Cooperation, both back at home and locally. I will retain very fond memories of the meetings I had during my visit, directly with the beneficiaries of the projects we support, notably the street children at the Centre NRJ, with the leaders of local NGOs such as Projet Jeunes Leaders and, of course, with the International Volunteers of Monaco, who made the decision to go out into the field to work in international solidarity.

What have been your highlights of this visit?

The diplomatic highlight was of course the signature of the first Framework Cooperation Agreement, an agreement on which teams from both countries have been working for a long time. I am delighted and proud that our relationship with Madagascar has now been formalised. I would also note the renewal of the Agreement on Health at the National Malaria Control Centre, built by the Principality of Monaco, and the visit to the Nutrisud factory. I should stress that none of these events were an end in themselves; they were first and foremost grounded in reality, with a genuine impact in terms of helping the most vulnerable.

Going beyond the diplomatic aspect, I will remember the kindness, goodwill and generosity of the people of Madagascar and the various people I met, who are working tirelessly and with conviction to support the men, women and children who are most in need.

On that note, what is the situation in terms of food security?

Food insecurity affects 1.64 million people in the south of Madagascar alone, and half of children under five years of age are suffering from stunted growth. It is important to note that Madagascar is the first country in the world where the current – and unprecedented – famine, following two consecutive years of drought, has been recognised by the United Nations as being directly linked to climate change. With this in mind, the Principality’s support for the Mérieux Foundation to build the factory producing local food supplements in Fort-Dauphin is absolutely vital to vulnerable groups in southern Madagascar, particularly children.

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