AfDB Participates in Avian Influenza Conference
The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, alongside delegates from over 72 countries and representatives of the United Nations, Multilateral Development Institutions (MDI) and Non-Governmental Organizations recently participated in the 4th International Conference on Avian and Human Pandemic Influenza in Bamako, Mali. The 3-day event, which was jointly hosted by the African Union and the Government of Mali and co-sponsored by the European Union, is the first to be held on the continent. The objective of the conference was to take stock of achievements so far made in the fight to contain outbreaks of the deadly avian influenza. The conference also sought ways of preventing the outbreak of human influenza pandemic and to make new pledges, especially for Africa which became affected after the Beijing Pledging Conference.
The meeting pledged to support the fight against Avian Human Influenza (AHI) with half a billion US dollars, the bulk of which was earmarked to address the immediate needs of African countries which have been estimated by the African Union and the Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources at about US$722 million. The international community once more committed itself to supporting the fight against avian flu. The conference emphasized the need for international solidarity and political commitment in efforts to prevent and control global calamities.
Speaking at the conference, the Director of the African Union’s Pan-African Bureau for Animal Resources, Modibo Traore, said avian flu was not receiving enough attention in Africa though it was still a problem, adding that H5N1 was still affecting poultry in many African countries. "Of the eight African countries where outbreaks of the virus have been reported, three are still reporting new outbreaks. These countries include Nigeria, Sudan and Egypt," Mr. Traore said during his opening remarks at the Fourth International Conference on H5N1 in Bamako. He noted that "at the current rate, no African country is safe."