24th Aug 2019

West African leaders call for post-Ebola support

The leaders of the three West African countries worst hit by the Ebola epidemic called on the international community for a regional ‘Marshall Plan’ at an EU-hosted conference on Tuesday (3 March).

The “Ebola: from emergency to recovery” conference took place in Brussels on Tuesday, co-chaired by the European Union, together with the Presidents of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the United Nations and the African Union.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • The number of new Ebola cases in West Africa has dropped dramatically, but regional leaders want international support to help recover from the epidemic. (Photo: European Commission)

The epidemic, which began in spring 2014, has killed almost 10,000 people out of more than 23,000 confirmed cases in the three countries. The World Health Organisation estimates that the true infection rate and death toll is significantly higher than has been reported.

However, the disease, which has a very high mortality rate and is highly contagious - passed through through human-to-human contact - appears to be coming under control, with fewer than 100 cases being reported each week for the last month. It has no known vaccine or cure.

“Victory against the virus is in sight, but we must guard against complacency,” said President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone. “There won't be complete victory until we get to a resilient zero in each of the three affected countries.”

For its part, the UN said it would continue to support “the drive to zero” cases.

The epidemic, which effectively forced the affected countries in West Africa to quarantine themselves and restrict travel in and out of their countries, also delivered a severe setback to their economies in the process.

“A regional approach would achieve the best recovery results,” Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf told the 600 delegates, including ministers and health experts from across the world, adding that “there is no doubt that this will require significant resources, perhaps even a Marshall Plan.”

“We believe however that this can be achieved through allocation of the additional resources committed by the European Commission", she said.

The three recovering countries are drawing up a blueprint for a regional ‘Marshall plan’ to help their economies recover, which will be presented to the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in April.

Speaking at the conference, EU development commissioner Neven Mimica said that 50 percent of the bloc’s development assistance was being used to provide budget support to the governments of three countries to help them deliver “urgently needed public services and cushion the economic impact of the epidemic.”

"The European Commission, together with the bloc’s 28 governments, have so far pledged around €1.2 billion to Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria, the countries worst affected by the disease, as part of total pledges from the international community of $5 billion (€4.6 billion)."

But the international community has been criticised by medical NGOs and the UN for failing to do enough and acting too slowly, while African leaders at the conference stated that only $2.4 billion (€2.2 billion) of the pledged money has actually been made available to the affected countries. The conference did not see any further donation pledges.

When it came to Ebola, “the world was ill-prepared. It shows,” said Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organisation. “We must reduce this vulnerability as a matter of urgency.”

News in Brief

  1. Ocean Viking to disembark in Malta after ordeal
  2. Germany joins France in world outcry on Brazil fires
  3. British people lose faith in Brexit deal
  4. Brexit hardliners want further changes to EU deal
  5. German manufacturers confirm fear of recession
  6. Belgian socialists and liberals scrap over EU post
  7. Fall in EU migration leading to UK skills shortages
  8. Switzerland makes post-Brexit flight preparations


The EU committee's great 'per diem' charade

Around 30 members of European Economic Social Committee, who live and work primarily in Brussels or nearby, have claimed €1.47m in a 'daily subsistence' allowance from European taxpayers to cover accommodation, food and local transport for meetings held in Brussels.

EU ends silence on Hong Kong protests

The EU, in league with Canada, has spoken out on the Hong Kong protests after months of silence in what one expert called "a clear expression of support for the protesters".

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Spain heading for yet another general election
  2. EU to discuss Brazil beef ban over Amazon fires
  3. 'Our house is burning,' Macron says on Amazon fires
  4. What happens when trafficking survivors get home
  5. EU states and Russia clash on truth of WW2 pact
  6. EU considers new rules on facial recognition
  7. EU to pledge Africa security funds at G7 summit
  8. Letter from the EESC on per diem article

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us