AUC, AfDB and ECA confident that countries will beat Ebola Virus Disease

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Leaders of three Pan-African institutions – the African Union Commission’s Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the African Development Bank’s Dr Donald Kaberuka, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s Dr. Carlos Lopes – concluded a solidarity tour on Friday 24 October 2014 in Conakry, Guinea.

The visit ended with a confident call to step up resource mobilisation, enhance coordination, fight stigmatization, promote Africa’s readiness for business and its continued rise. Starting off in Ghana, the visit took in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire, before rounding off in Guinea.

They met with Heads of Government, cabinet Ministers, parliamentarians, civil society and media in the affected countries, as well as with leaders of two neighbouring countries, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Ghana also hosted the delegation in its capacity as the current President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The primary purpose of the visit was to show solidarity in the spirit of Ubuntu, to shore up more resources to support the Governments and peoples of these countries, and to engage with leaders on their national efforts and strategies in response to Ebola.

Their discussions focused on the immediate public health needs, in particular arresting the spread of the disease, as well as on the immediate and longer-term social and economic impact of Ebola. They saluted the courage, resilience and determination of the Governments and the people in overcoming the panic phase, embarking on massive public education around how the disease is spread, modes of prevention, social mobilization, contact tracing, testing and treatment, and also managing deaths and burials.

They recognised the stepped up contributions of the international community in providing financial, technical, infrastructural and medical support to the fight against the EVD, and urged all to do still more.

They appreciated the response to the AUC Chairperson’s appeal for AU Member States to make available medical personnel as soon as possible. Many countries heeded the call, with some 2000 health workers from the African continent pledged.

They said that enhancing coordination becomes even more critical, at both the national and international levels. Resources must be channeled to support the strategies, structures and procedures laid down by the Governments of the three affected countries. Accountability and transparency must be given at every level.

The AfDB’s contribution – currently at over 220 million USD – includes supporting the international response, budgetary support for the deployment of health workers from across Africa and the diaspora, as well as supporting the health systems in the three countries, including training local health extension and community workers.

The group shared the concern that stigmatisation is hurting not just those suffering from Ebola, but the whole continent of Africa. It felt that the virus – and perceptions about it – cannot be allowed to affect the economic prospects of the fastest growing continent. The group strongly believed that the Mano River Basin countries, now at the epicenter of the epidemic, continue to have some of the best economic prospects of the continent. In continuing to call for a lifting of all travel bans, it was pleased to hear that Côte d’Ivoire has resumed flights to Guinea this week, and will do so with Sierra Leone and Liberia in the coming days.

With all the national, continental and international efforts, the heads of the Pan-African institutions came back more energised to continue the fight to defeat the negative predictions and ensure that the continent remains on track to build the Africa we want. -----------------------------------------For further information:
Jacob Enoh Eben, African Union Commission, tel. +251 11 55 17 700
Bakary Sanogo, African Development Bank, tel. +225 01 15 18 18,
Sophia Denekew, Economic Commission for Africa, tel. +251 911 197 696,

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