With the waving Ebola crisis in the country causing almost every economic activity to stall and money diverted to the fight, the European Union (EU) has assured that its long-term commitment to Liberia’s and other Ebola affected countries’ development goals remain on course.
European Union Deputy Director General for Development Cooperation, Marcus Cornaro at a recently held press briefing disclosed that apart from the interventions in the Ebola crisis, EU is still engaged with previous projects it once undertook.
Among major projects the EU sponsors in Liberia are energy, forest sector, health and sanitation and education.
EU is one of Liberia’s partners helping with funding to restore electricity in Monrovia from the damaged Mount Coffee Dam. European countries including Germany and Norway had made significant financial contributions to the rebuilding of the dam.
The EU late last year made 3.3 million Euros available to enhance Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) for people of West Point and New Kru Town.
Mr. Cornaro said the long-term commitment of EU runs to 2020, and the Ebola crisis that is also drawing money to fight cannot halt the development commitment.
Mr. Cornaro’s assurance about commitment to long-term development in Liberia followed a visit that allowed him to meet with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and members of the international community.
During the separate meetings they discussed challenges and needs created by the outbreak in Liberia.
The EU support to Liberia in the wake of the Ebola crisis has focused on providing Doctors without Borders (MSF), the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) the financial means for their daily frontline fight against Ebola.
The European Union earlier announced a €140 million package of funding for the countries affected by Ebola in West Africa. €38 million of the new package is specifically designed to help those governments bolster their health services, both during the crisis and in the recovery phase.
€5 million of the package also goes towards providing mobile laboratories for the detection of the virus and training of health workers. €97.5 million will be spent in budget support operations to Liberia and Sierra Leone to reinforce governments’ capacities to deliver public services, especially in areas of healthcare and macro-economic stability.
Later €3 additional million was announced to support the newly established mission of the African Union (AU) “Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA).”
In addition to the EU’s contribution, some member states have provided bilateral funding and in-kind contributions totaling €10 million.
Meanwhile, EU Deputy Director General for Development Cooperation, Marcus Cornaro and head of EU Delegation to Liberia, Ambassador Attilio Pacifici have called on the general public not to perceive the government as receiving more funding but should collectively fight the disease to be eradicated.
The official and diplomat stressed that though the EU provides budget support to government, much of what comes in is tracked through the World Bank that monitors activities of non-governmental organizations that implement projects.
They said money may come for Ebola in abundance; no impact will be made if citizens do not join the fight by adhering to pieces of medical advice given them by health workers.