The African Union (AU) has said it is seeking funding from some of the continent’s richest people, including Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote, to pay volunteer doctors and nurses fighting the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa. The continental block is seeking to raise $35 million in the first round and, eventually, as much as $100 million for the Business-to-Rescue Fund, said George Sibotshiwe, Executive Director, African Democratic Institution, which is coordinating a November 8meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to encourage business people to donate. “A campaign to ask for contributions from “citizens” will follow,” he said.
Dangote, the chairman of Dangote Group in Nigeria, and Patrice Motsepe, chairman of Johannesburg-based African Rainbow Minerals Ltd. (ARI) are expected to attend the meeting, the AU said in an e-mail statement. According to AU, Strive Masiyiwa, chairman of Econet Wireless International, Safaricom Ltd. of Kenya Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bob Collymore, South Africa’s MTN Group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa and CEO of Standard Bank Group Ltd. Sim Tshabalala also plan to join.
Among wealthy businessmen already committing money to curb Ebola are Microsoft co-founders Paul Allen and Bill Gates and Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The world’s largest Ebola outbreak has killed almost 5,000 people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone since December. AU member states have pledged to send at least 2,000 health workers to the three West African nations.