The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Board Chairman, Tony O Elumelu, has announced the donation of US$1million to battle the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, one of UBA’s main business centers.
Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone account for the bulk of the 4,922 deaths blamed on the Ebola epidemic that began in March.
It may be re-called that in August, the Tony Elumelu Foundation donated US$100,000 to the anti-Ebola cause, making unrestricted grants to the Ebola response institutions designated by the Presidents of Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.
The money will be distributed through the UBA Foundation, UBA’s corporate social responsibility arm and shared equally among in the three affected West African countries. The remaining US$100,000 will be contributed to the African Union Support Mission to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA), initiated by the African Union Chair Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
“Africa is our home and our destiny and Africans need to place themselves at the forefront of the campaign to overcome this tragedy,” Mr. Elumelu declared. “This donation,” he added, is an affirmation of our unshakeable commitment to the continent and a message that Africa can triumph over this terrible affliction,” said UBA Board Chairman.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to commend our courageous UBA Africa staff, in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, who have kept every branch and ATM open throughout this testing time. They have demonstrated our corporate value of resilience and commitment that the business and progress of Africa must and should go on,” he added.
"Our money will be directed immediately to strengthening capacity in the fight against the further spread of the disease" he further stated. "Our hope is that this donation will act as a catalyst for other African corporate leaders to play their part.”
Acknowledging the donation by the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said, “While we have mobilized our national resources as best we can, they are still inadequate to respond to an epidemic of this scale. So we appreciate friends of Liberia like you, who have come to our assistance in our moment of national need.”
This important precedent of African-funded support comes as West African and global development leaders have recently appealed for an increased effort to contain the epidemic.
The United Nations estimates that at least 5,000 international medical, training and support personnel are needed in the three countries over the coming months.
UBA’s chairman Tony Elumelu further declared, “I want to commend the Chairperson of the African Union, Dr. Dlamini Zuma, and Strive Masiyiwa, for presiding over a very successful AU meeting with the private sector to mobilize financial contributions and business solutions, to facilitate a robust African response to Ebola.
I am also very proud of my colleagues in the African private sector for demonstrating that we can rise to the occasion and help fund and support the AU deployment of the healthcare workers to care for our fellow Africans.
“I urge more African businesses to step up to the plate with more pledges,” he added.
With operations in 19 African countries, including the three countries currently battling Ebola, UBA provides financial services to Africans and Africa-related businesses globally and across Africa. UBA branches have remained open to attend to customers banking needs, with not a single UBA business office or ATM closing in Sierra Leone, Guinea, or Liberia.
Meanwhile, UBA Foundation is the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of the UBA Group. The Foundation is committed to the social and economic development of the communities in Africa and operates through such focus including Environment, Education, Economic Empowerment, and Special Projects.