The Economic Community of West African States has solicited active participation of private sector in the fight against Ebola, and in the recovery and reconstruction process.
The call came as ECOWAS partners against Ebola met in Accra on Friday in a high-level coordination meeting to address a viral epidemic that’s claimed more than 8,400 lives since March last year and caused socio-economic devastation in the region.
The meeting produced a 15-point communiqué urging private sector to mobilise investment in the affected countries and encourage establishment of a platform to help mobilise the private sector. The meeting, held under the auspices of the Chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama and President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe of Togo, the Coordinator of the Process on the fight against Ebola in the region, was attended by representatives of development partners and private sector organizations.
It called for advocacy to cancel debts of affected countries in a bid to support reconstruction efforts.
The meeting also welcomed the Ebola Recovery Assessment commissioned by the UN Secretary General and urged all stakeholders to be fully involved in the process and build on the outcome of the assessment to fine-tune the identified areas of intervention.
It reiterated the need to remove the restrictions and bans on the movement of persons and goods to and from the affected countries, and also to resume air traffic in those countries.
In order to address the negative impact of the epidemic and enhance resilience for sustainable development, the meeting emphasized the need to prepare for post-Ebola recovery and reconstruction.
To this end, it identified priority areas of intervention as water, sanitation and health, infrastructure and basic services, peace building, institution reconstruction and governance, and socio-economic revitalization.
The meeting expressed gratitude to development partners that have contributed to the anti-Ebola fight and commended Presidents Mahama and Gnassingbe for their leadership, relentless efforts and commitment towards the eradication of the epidemic in the region.
Partners represented at the meeting, which was also attended by government ministers and ECOWAS Commissioners included the UN, WHO, EU, African Union, UEMOA and the Mano River Union