Ecobank Liberia Ltd. has been named the “Best Bank of the Year 2014” for its immense contribution towards the fight against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country.
The accolade was bestowed upon the bank by the International Learning Institute (ILI) and its subsidiary, Gender International Magazine Publication and Resource Center, at the Champions of the Year Annual Award 2014, held last Saturday at a local hotel in Monrovia.
Chief organizer, Ms. Mildred Dean, said Ecobank was honored for its sacrificial, dedicated and humanitarian services to Liberians during the heat of the Ebola epidemic.
She recalled that the Pan African bank was the first institution to help the Liberian government to contain the spread of the virus by donating the first ambulance.
Presenting the award to Ecobank’s former managing director, Mr. Kola Adeleke, she said: “We are very happy to award you as the best Pan African bank of the Year for the outstanding performance, sacrificial, dedicated and humanitarian Services to Liberians during the heat of the Ebola crisis.”
Responding, outgoing Ecobank MD Adeleke thanked the Gender International Magazine for the honor and said it was a big surprise.
He pledged the bank’s continuing commitment to work with the Liberian government to ensure that Liberia becomes an Ebola-free country and survivors are not stigmatized.
Mr. Adeleke cautioned the public against stigmatizing survivors, noting that it is imperative for survivors to tell their stories.
“We have to learn from their experiences and how they came into contact with the disease. Telling their stories will greatly help the national fight,” he said.
The Ecobank executive said Ebola survivors are Africans and Liberians, “just like you and me.”
He spoke of the grave impact of the Ebola outbreak on economies of the three countries hit hardest by the virus, but noted that as a Pan African bank with vast experience in operating in crisis environments, Ecobank crafted a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) that has helped it through crises, including the Ebola epidemic.
“During a crisis like this, we sacrifice profitability for liquidity,” the Ecobank boss explained. He assured the public that as a Pan African bank in Liberia, Ecobank is here to stay.
Other personalities honored were President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Rep. Saah Joseph, Madam Julie Endee, executive director, Liberia Crusaders for Peace, Information Minister Lewis Bowne, Assistant Minister for Health Tolbert Nyenswah, amongst other.
Institutions honored included the Central Bank of Liberia, United Bank for Africa, and the state-owned radio ELBC.
Ms. Dean is also the chief executive officer of the Gender International Magazine Publication and Resource Center, located on Crown Hill, Broad Street, Monrovia.