Nairobi - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a $47.1 million emergency loan to Madagascar to help the Indian Ocean island state to meet urgent balance of payment needs, the IMF said late on Wednesday.

Madagascar, famed for its wildlife and eyed by foreign companies for its minerals, has struggled to lure back tourists and court oil and mining giants since a coup in 2009, which also prompted international donors to cut off ties. Its economy slumped and poverty deepened.

The IMF resumed its relationship with Madagascar earlier this year, following peaceful elections.

The IMF, which expects the Malagasy economy to grow by 3 percent this year, said the approval of the loan would enable the government to hold talks with international development partners for more assistance.

President Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who took office in January, pledged to woo foreign investors and tourists back to Madagascar and subsequently appointed Jean Razafindravonona as his finance minister. - Reuters