African Development Bank participates in High-Level Event on Ebola Recovery hosted by UNDP in New York

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On January 29, 2015, the African Development Bank, represented by Janvier Kpourou Litse, Acting Vice-President of Operations, in charge of Country and Regional Programs and Policy, participated in a High-Level United Nations Development Programme meeting on Ebola Recovery in New York.

Under the Presidency of Ambassador Fernando Carrera, the President of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Executive Board, opening statements were made by Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator and Chair of the United Nations Development Group, along with representatives of the three countries affected by the epidemic. AfDB’s Litse participated via video conference from Abidjan and was assisted by, Director of the Bank’s Transition Support Department, and staff.

The objective of the meeting was to present the preliminary findings of the multi-partner Ebola Recovery Assessment process initiated by the UN Secretary General as part of his commitment to support the nationally led Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) recovery strategies of the affected countries. This partnership comprises the United Nations, the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the European Union.

The UNDP Deputy Assistant Administrator for Policy and Programmes, who led the recent multi-party Ebola recovery assessment mission (ERA) to the three affected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone on behalf of the UN system, shared preliminary findings at the meeting. He said that efforts are urgently needed to restore livelihoods and generate jobs, especially for women and youth. According to him, strategies should include reviving SME development and financial intermediation, public works, the safe reopening of local markets, cash transfer schemes, and providing immediate support to the upcoming planting season. These activities should seek to leverage the private sector both for response and recovery, and to strengthen the employability of youth through further education, vocational training and national volunteer schemes, he said.

Speaking on behalf of the African Development Bank, Acting Vice-President Litse thanked UNDP for organizing the meeting. He recognized that the continent is at a turning point in the fight against Ebola as the rates of new infections have decreased dramatically in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. It is indeed imperative that Development Partners prepare for the post-Ebola challenges, which will be mostly of economic nature, he said.

Litse emphasized the fact that the Bank has been at the forefront of the health response, approving nine operations to fight back Ebola, for a total amount of US $223 million, but also moved swiftly towards a new type of support. Last month the Bank approved a US $300-million road transport project for the Mano River, which will bring new infrastructure and economic relief to some of the hardest-hit areas. He recognized that no development partner can succeed alone, and therefore there is a need for a coordinated approach. In this regard, the Bank is working closely with the World Bank towards a joint strategy in support of the Ebola-stricken countries. Lastly, Litse said that the Bank looks forward to the participation of UNDP and all other stakeholders present at the New York meeting in this strategic exercise.

Other interventions were made by the World Bank Group, the European Union and country representatives of Cuba, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, China, Sweden and Turkey in support of the initiative. 

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