I am pleased to be with you today and to welcome the president of CENI and Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program.
Working with Congress, the United States is providing funds to support elections and good governance in Africa in 2023 to reinforce democracy.
The U.S. Embassy already received 1.3 million dollars from the American people to promote free and fair elections in Madagascar.
These funds are already at work here in Madagascar to promote elections sensitization, specifically through the work of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) and public outreach programs coordinated by the Embassy.
The overall objective of the Madagascar Election Support Program is to increase citizens’ understanding of and confidence in electoral processes to ultimately improve voter turnout and promote informed and inclusive public participation in the 2023 elections.
Today I am pleased to announce that the United States intends to continue building on our existing support. Working with Congress, the United States intends to provide $400,000 to support civic education activities.
Madagascar has a high number of young people and first-time voters; they represent almost 50 percent of eligible voting-age citizens. A quarter of youth voters will vote for the first time this year.
The United States plans to work with civil society organizations (CSOs) to support voter education. The program would identify and create youth networks to encourage youth participation and inform politicians, political parties, and candidates about their needs and aspirations.
In addition, the United States intends to provide $500,000 to the UNDP Basket Fund to support free and fair elections here in Madagascar.
These funds will facilitate inclusive participation in the electoral process, ensure that the CENI (National Independent Election Commission) is prepared to run elections, support the training of electoral workers, and promote outreach to communities across Madagascar.
These new funds build on our country’s already strong support for free and fair elections here in Madagascar and across Africa.
Now, let’s listen to the CENI and UN’s work to promote democracy and voter engagement here in Madagascar.