- says Finance Minister
March 17, 2015 Ibrahim Tarawallie
Our economies have suffered significant downtown owing to cuts in private sector activities, loss of revenues and jobs, and yet the Ebola virus remains a present threat to the development aspirations in the Mano River Union (MRU), says Minister of Finance and Economic Development yesterday at a sub-regional technical and ministerial meeting on post-Ebola economic recovery.
The three-day high level meeting, which is being organised by the Mano River Union (MRU), follows an extraordinary MRU summit on Ebola in Conakry in February, where heads of state and government declared their commitment and political will to adopt common strategies to end Ebola and also address post-Ebola recovery needs of the sub-region.
The meeting is expected to produce a regional strategy ahead of the World Bank spring meetings where the three affected countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – will jointly advocate for a single ‘Marshall Plan’.
Delivering his keynote address at Hotel Barmoi, Dr. Kaifala Marah noted that important lessons have been learnt from the Ebola fight for the future since the first Ebola case was diagnosed in Guinea early last year.
“We are gathered here today knowing that the disease is in retreat, yet concerned that its social and economic impact has been extraordinary, considering the loss of lives and shocks to existing fragile health systems and economic forecasts. We are grateful for the gains we have made so far,” he said.
He urged ministers, technical experts and advisers drawn from the MRU to carry out the directives of their respective heads of state and government, which are to conclude a strategy on achieving and sustaining zero Ebola infections and consolidate the MRU recovery programme ahead of the IMF/World Bank spring meetings in Washington in April this year, among others.
Dr. Marah concluded by stating that in order to achieve and maintain zero cases, it was significant that the three affected countries firm up their thoughts on infection prevention control, social mobilisation, community engagement, surveillance and cross-border collaboration.
Earlier welcoming participants, MRU Deputy Secretary General, Rev. Mrs. Linda Koroma, stated that the aim of the meeting is to consolidate the collective strategy to make a case for economic recovery to the international community.
She urged participants that the documents that will be produced at the end of the meeting should help meet the hope and aspirations of MRU citizens.
Also, Resident Representative of the African Development Bank, Dr. Yero Baldeh, opined that from the onset the ADB had a regional approach in the Ebola fight and urged development partners to work together to prioritise and manage expectations.