Ellen Pleads for US$3b Debt Cancellation

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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has renewed requests to the international community for the cancellation of Liberia’s debt of US$3.16 billion.

She further appealed for direct budget support to the three worst Ebola-affected countries—-Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

“We also re-echo our call on the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and the United Nations System to support the establishment of a Special Delivery Unit within the Mano River Union (MRU) Secretariat backed by a project preparation facility for the preparation of bankable projects for effective implementation of the program,” she urged.

The President pointed out that in terms of the combined costs, the financing gap is estimated at US$7.2 billion, of which US$4 billion will finance the sub-regional plan.

She observed that while the resources required are significant, a strong MRU can be a “formidable force” for recovery and resilience in the sub-region, which will attract private sector investment and capital in natural resources for sustainability and positive impact on regional stability and world trade.

The world as a whole has a great stake in how to respond together in this global threat, she noted, adding that the world is more connected together than before, and that viruses and diseases, just like terrorism, know no boundaries.

A dispatch from New York and posted by the Executive Mansion, quoted President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as further emphasizing that an effective long-term response to the Ebola virus disease (EVD) will rest in plans and strategies for economic recovery and support for the transformation goals of the three countries worst-affected by the epidemic.

According to the dispatch, President Sirleaf on Friday, July 10, was delivering the Mano River Union (MRU) Recovery Plan at the International Ebola Recovery Conference at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The conference was hosted by United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon.

On behalf of the three countries worst affected by Ebola, President Sirleaf said in furtherance of the goal for long-term recovery, the 3rd Extraordinary Summit of the MRU, held on June 28, in Conakry, Guinea, adopted the sub-regional Post-Ebola Socio-Economic Program as well as the institutional and financing framework to ensure an effective implementation of the plan.

The MRU plan, said President Sirleaf, is clustered into two levels. Level One, which is estimated at US$1.76 billion, focuses on health, water, sanitation and hygiene. It also includes governance, peace and security, agriculture, fisheries and food security. Gender, youth and social protection are also factored in Level One. Level Two concentrates on sub-regional roads, energy access, information and communication technology, estimated at US$2.24 billion.

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