The leaders of the West African countries hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak of the past year have called on the international community to support a recovery plan which will promote economic growth, create new jobs and finance the rebuilding of health, education and social protection systems which have been destroyed.
In a guest column published on AllAfrica ahead of a meeting with President Barack Obama of the United States on Wednesday, Presidents Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Alpha Conde of Guinea and Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone identify five key elements in their appeal for help:
- Building resilient public health systems;
- Developing transport, power and telecommunications infrastructure to bring about regional integration;
- Backing for private sector-led recovery efforts, and a resumption of air travel in the region;
- Technical and financial support for immediate cash help to the most vulnerable people hit by the Ebola crisis; and
- A total cancellation of the countries’ foreign debt
The three presidents have travelled to Washington ahead of the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Late Tuesday, the National Security Council announced on its Twitter feed that President Obama would meet the three presidents on Wednesday morning to “discuss with his West African counterparts progress made in the international Ebola response to date.”