President Kaberuka receives Ivorian footballer and humanitarian Didier Drogba to discuss partnership to tackle Ebola crisis

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African Development Bank Group President Donald Kaberuka met with Didier Drogba, Ivorian footballer and humanitarian, at the AfDB headquarters in Abidjan on Friday, November 14 to discuss ways to tackle the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

In their private meeting, Kaberuka and Drogba discussed a partnership between the AfDB and the Didier Drogba Foundation in an effort to respond to Ebola, a health crisis that according to the World Health Organization has infected more than 14,098 people since March 2014, resulting in 5,160 deaths.

“Today, the Bank Group is receiving Drogba and his Foundation as a vibrant symbol. With such a great voice and personality, we shall build a partnership and mobilize resources to eradicate Ebola. A technical team will work towards the partnership,” Kaberuka told journalists during an afternoon press conference.

The spread of the virus has highlighted the need for improved health-care systems, and has driven back development progress in post-conflict countries that were on the road to recovery. The countries most affected by the virus are Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Drogba expressed happiness to see the Bank back home in Abidjan, which is significant for Côte d’Ivoire’s stability. The country has emerged from a sociopolitical crisis and was looking for a symbol of its revival, he said. “[The Bank’s return] is the greatest symbol and I thank you for that.

“My coming to the AfDB is also to thank the institution for all it has done for this country as well as for innovative projects and funds for Africa. These funds will help the continent to eliminate Ebola. I am proud and honoured to be associated with the Bank in this fight against Ebola,” said Drogba.

“I call on the youth to join me in the fight. Ebola is there. It is serious. I will do what I can to help.”

The African Development Bank Group has so far channeled US $223 million, through the World Health Organization, towards strengthening West Africa’s public health systems in response to the Ebola crisis.

At an historic meeting on Saturday, November 8 at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the African Union together with African Development Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and leading businesses in Africa joined forces to create and support a funding mechanism to deal with the Ebola outbreak and its consequences.

Established under the auspices of the African Union Foundation through a facility managed by the African Development Bank, the fund will boost efforts to equip, train and deploy African health workers to fight the epidemic.

Created in 2007, the Didier Drogba Foundation provides financial and material support to help improve the health and education of Africans. The Foundation provided support to schools, hospitals and orphanages in Côte d’Ivoire and since 2012 the Chelsea striker has played an active role in the fight against malaria.

Both Drogba’s foundation and the AfDB are determined to address the worst Ebola outbreak in history.