left corner left corner
China Daily Website  

Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia meet on post Ebola reconstruction

Updated: 2015-03-18 09:47

FREETOWN - The three Mano River Union countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia are meeting in the Sierra Leone capital, Freetown to map the way forward for the post Ebola reconstruction programme.

The meeting which is being held together with development partners is a follow up of a two day summit of heads of state of the three MRU countries previously held in the Guinean capital of Conakry.

Addressing the opening ceremony Monday, Finance Minister of Sierra Leone, Dr. Kelfalla Marah, pointed out that they would have to carry out the directives of their Heads of State to conclude a strategy on achieving and sustaining a zero Ebola infection.

The Finance Minister said though the Ebola virus is in retreat it's "economic impact on the socio-economy has been enormous considering the loss of lives as well as the shocks to existing fragile health system, the downward turn of the private sector activities in addition to the loss of revenue".

He added that the economies have "suffered significantly owing to loss of revenues and jobs; and yet the virus remains a present threat to the development aspirations in our three sister countries".

Dr. Marah went on to name the pillars the meeting will concentrate on in rebuilding the health system, education and reconstruction of battered economies.

He added they would also consolidate the MRU recovery programme ahead of the IMF/World Bank Spring Meeting in Washington in April 9. They will also revisit MRU/African Development Bank (ADB) initiative on critical infrastructure in the sub region and define the Regional Trust fund and its implementation.

Whilst commending Liberia for having a zero rate of infection for a number of days now the Finance Minister noted that it is possible "to strangle hold and restrain the disease".

He concluded that it is possible that "we firm up our thoughts on infection mobilization, community engagement, surveillance cross-border collaboration as well as robust and sustainable social protection programmes".

The ADB representative, Dr. Yerro Baldeh disclosed that the bank has provided funding to the MRU secretariat to resuscitate the Joint Cross border Security Committee as the first step in engaging communities in cross border social mobilization.

On behalf of the UN Gon Mayer called for more collaboration among the three states noting that they should note the different stage of the virus with Liberia no new cases for the past 20 days, Guinea new cases still evident in some regions whilst Sierra Leone the number of new cases have been unpredictable with frequent spikes at regular intervals for several weeks.

  • Group a building block for Africa

    An unusually heavy downpour hit Durban for two days before the BRICS summit's debut on African soil, but interest for a better platform for emerging markets were still sparked at the summit.