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AfDB participates in the Mano River Union Technical and Ministerial Meeting on Post-Ebola Recovery Strategy

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One year after the World Health Organization declared an Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the Mano River Union convened a three-day Sub-Regional Technical and Ministerial Meeting on Post-Ebola Economic Recovery in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The keynote address and official opening of the conference was done by the Minister of Finance in Sierra Leone, Kaifala Marah. In his statement, the Minister urged the participants to think together as a team and do what they have been mandated by Heads of State of the MRU countries in the meeting held in Conakry on February 15, 2015, namely: to conclude a strategy to achieve zero status in the region by April 15, 2015; to consolidate the MRU Strategy ahead of the World Bank Spring Meetings on April 17-19 in Washington; to revisit the African Development Bank MRU Initiative, which according to him serves as an important platform and framework for post-Ebola recovery; and to define the establishment of a Regional Trust Fund and its implementation framework.

The Bank’s Country Representative for Sierra Leone, Yero Baldeh, in delivering his statement at the opening ceremony, noted that the African Development Bank fully recognizes the relevance of a regional approach in the fight to contain the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in the region. He indicated that the Bank’s Ebola response strategy identified the MRU Secretariat as a key partner and catalytic institution essential for supporting the regional dimension of the fight against EVD.

Baldeh also emphasized the need for the three affected countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone to not just overcome the crisis by getting to zero cases and sustaining it, but also to use this opportunity to build stronger and more resilient capacity and institutions. These institutions will enable the countries return to their pre-Ebola development trajectory and also withstand future epidemics and shocks, he said.

Statements were also made by other development partners, including the European Union, the United Nations and the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare from Guinea. The recurring theme in the statements at the opening ceremony was the need to galvanize efforts to sustain the gains made and achieve zero status in all the countries and the need for a well-articulated post-Ebola recovery strategy that will address the critical impact and challenges resulting from the outbreak.

The meeting, which took place from Monday, March 16 to Wednesday, March 18, was attended by representatives of the Governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and development partners working in the MRU Region including the European Union and United Nations agencies.

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