The Chairman of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Kadré Désire Ouédraogo, has disclosed that the European Union (EU) is considering financing post-Ebola reconstruction initiatives in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the three worst affected countries.
Buttressing comments from the ECOWAS Regional Supervisor on Response and Eradication of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe of Togo, Commissioner Ouedraogo disclosed that upon meeting with ECOWAS partners in Accra recently, the EU had consented to host a high-level meeting in Brussels, Belgium on March 3, to help the three countries in the post-Ebola development drive.
Commissioner Ouedraogo made the disclosure last Friday when he and the Togolese President paid a one-day solidarity visit to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Liberian people. He was one of the three who addressed a press stakeout following the meeting with President Sirleaf.
The ECOWAS Commission boss also disclosed that under the leadership of President Gnassingbe, a high-level meeting in Accra, Ghana, with all ECOWAS partners, was convened on January 16. High on the agenda were pleas for the re-opening of all borders and the resumption of air services to and from Ebola affected countries; the establishment of a coordination mechanism at the level of ECOWAS in order to institute a more efficient response to the epidemic; and consideration for post-Ebola reconstruction needs of the worst affected countries.
“As the President of Togo has mentioned, he convened a high-level meeting with partners of ECOWAS on January 16 in Ghana in the presence of the regional body Chairman, President John Dramani Mahama."
Main items on the agenda, Commissioner Ouedraogo said, were the plea for the reopening of borders, the resumption of flight services to Ebola affected countries; establishing a coordination mechanism at the level of ECOWAS to have a more efficient response to the epidemic; and lastly consideration of the post-Ebola reconstruction needs of these countries which we are beginning to receive positive results.
Earlier, the Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe renewed his solidarity and support to President Sirleaf, the Government and people of Liberia and on behalf of the ECOWAS Chairman, John Mahama, expressed how proud they all are of the Liberian President.
“We would like to thank you for your leadership in steering this Ebola crisis,” the Togolese leader added.
He also paid tribute to the vision and leadership of President Sirleaf and commended the Government and people of Liberia for the heroic and successful fight against Ebola, which led to the positive results the country is now observing.
He commended the Liberian Government officials as well as the entire population who joined hands together to fight the Ebola virus disease (EVD).
President Gnassingbe also thanked the international community, most especially ECOWAS member states, which sent health workers and volunteers to the three worst affected countries that had made the difference. He finally praised all those who survived the Ebola virus disease.
Everybody, he said, knows that no sector of the economy was spared in this Ebola attack and experience has shown that in order to rise up, everyone has to get up very early and work hard.
“We would like to say that in a period such as this, we have to get up early and work late so that all our efforts are combined to ensure that the reconstruction process is more efficient and effective,” he said.
The Togolese President noted that though much had been achieved in the fight against Ebola, Liberians must be vigilant and not become complacent. He assured the Liberian Government that ECOWAS would leave no stone unturned in getting rid of Ebola.
The Organization will also pursue efforts to help the country to return to normalcy.
President Gnassingbe was asked to supervise the process following the endorsement of the Regional Integrated Operational Plan for the response to the EVD by ECOWAS Heads of State and Government during a regional summit in Accra, Ghana on November 6, 2014.
As supervisor of ECOWAS’ efforts, President Gnassingbe was also due to visit Guinea and Sierra Leone upon leaving Liberia.
Earlier, on behalf of the people and Government of Liberia, President Sirleaf welcomed the two visiting dignitaries and expressed delight at their being in the country to work with her and to demonstrate solidarity to the Government and people of Liberia.
She asked them to convey to the ECOWAS Chairman, Ghanaian President Mahama her deep appreciation for all that ECOWAS countries had done to support Liberia, while also promising the Togolese President her fullest support in ensuring that his mandate will be carried out successfully.