AU calls for private sector to join the fight against Ebola

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The African Union (AU) has partnered up with the continent’s private sector to assist in the fight against the Ebola outbreak in West Africa

On November 8 in Addis Ababa, the AU is set to hold a forum with Africa’s private sector for the first time to mobilise resources from within the continent in an effort to assist with on-the-ground national and international Ebola initiatives.

The forum will also discuss ways to reverse the economic decline of the affected West African countries affected such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea affected as well as post-Ebola recovery.

(READ MORE: Ebola shrinks West Africa’s poorest economies)

High profile businessmen like Nigerian business magnate Aliko Dangote, founder of Econet Wireless Global Strive Masiyiwa and South African mining tycoon Patrice Motsepe are set to attend the meeting.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), global efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak are making headway thanks to the AU Support Mission’s efforts to mobilise technical expertise, resources, political and financial support.

As a result, the spread of Ebola may be slowing in Liberia. 

(READ MORE: Ebola appears to be slowing in Liberia – WHO )

To date, the AU Support to the Outbreak of Ebola in West Africa (ASEOWA) mission has deployed over a hundred volunteer medical and health workers to the affected region.

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairperson of the AU said that over 2000 medical personnel have been pledged to the fight however contributions from the private sector are needed to support the deployment of these volunteers.

(READ MORE: AU receives US$18.5mil for Ebola operations)

“There is much more work to be done, and we welcome the willingness already shown by big businesses on the continent in helping to restore normality to the regions affected, where Ebola has had a major socio-economic impact,” she said.

“The pride of the African continent lies in our commitment to help other Africans. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is unprecedented, and our co-ordinated responses to the crisis are therefore urgent. We need to continue to provide financial assistance to these regions, to be able to track and contain the disease, provide treatment to those who are sick, and restore normality to these communities.” 

(READ MORE: Time for business to get involved in Ebola battle: AfDB chief )