Madagascar must pay its dues, SADC says

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Windhoek - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has turned down a request from Antananarivo to wrote off Madagascar’s US$8 million arrears to the bloc.

Information at hand shows that out of the US$8,060,267 that Madagascar owes in annual dues to the regional organisation, US$6,673,693 accumulated when the island nation was suspended from SADC in 2009. The other US$1,386,574 is a debt stemming from unpaid annual dues in 2018/2019.

Madagascar was suspended from SADC in 2009 when then opposition leader Andry Rajoelina – backed by the military - seized power from Marc Ravalomanana in much the same way Ravalomanana himself had pushed Didier Ratsiraka out of office in 2002.

In August 2018, the SADC Heads of State and Government Summit approved a payment plan proposed by Madagascar. In March 2019, Antananarivo wrote to the SADC Secretariat asking for a cancellation of the debt.

The country said it could not be expected to pay annual contributions for a period it was suspended from the bloc.

The Secretariat, however, pointed out that Madagascar was bound to make the contribution in line with Article 28 of the SADC Treaty, which mandates the Council of Ministers to structure the dues expected of member states.

The SADC Treaty has no provision for cancellation of debts accruing from unpaid contributions by member states.

The Council of Ministers has also said even “though Madagascar was suspended, she remained a member of SADC and participated in the areas of co-operation as governed by Article 21 of the SADC Treaty. The only real penalty during her suspension was her inability to participate in SADC meetings”.

SADC has communicated to Madagascar that other countries have also had difficulties in meeting their dues in the past but payment plans were always structured and honoured. 

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