Washington, D.C. - April 17, 2015: The World Bank Group (WBG) announced on Friday, April 17, 2015 that it will provide at least US $650 million during the next 12 to 18 months to
help Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone recover from the devastating social and economic impact of the Ebola crisis and advance their long-term development needs.
The new World Bank pledge brings the organization’s total financing for Ebola response and recovery efforts to date to US $1.6 billion.
Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the WBG, announced the new funding from the International Development Association (IDA), the WBG’s fund for the poorest countries, at an Ebola Summit during the World Bank Group-International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings.
During the summit, attended by an array of leaders of major international institutions, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, President Alpha Conde of Guinea, and President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone presented a sub-regional plan to global development leaders.
Speaking on behalf of her colleagues, President Sirleaf informed the impressive audience at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington, D.C. that at an Extraordinary Meeting of the Mano River Union, held in Conakry, Guinea on February 15, 2015, the three countries resolved to take on the more important challenge of economic recovery through the Mano River Union (MRU).
“We have, therefore, formulated a sub-regional Social-economic Recovery Program to ensure that our States return to stability and prosperity,” she said.
According to President Sirleaf, the plan is focused on nine key areas, which are the following: Health (sanitation and hygiene); Gender; Youth Development; Social Protection; Agriculture (fisheries and food security); Trade and Private Sector Development; Infrastructure (roads, energy and water); Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Governance (peace and security and program management).
The new funding is on top of the nearly US $1 billion that the WBG previously committed for the Ebola emergency response and early recovery efforts from the IDA (US $518 million) and International Finance Corporation (450 million), and also comes on top of US $2.17 billion in debt relief for the three worst Ebola affected countries.
In line with the three countries’ recovery plans, the five priority areas for the additional IDA funds include: strengthening health systems and frontline care; agriculture; education; cash transfer and other social protection programs; lifesaving infrastructure such as electricity, water, sanitation and roads. The fund will also be used to develop a regional disease surveillance system across West Africa that will help prevent or contain future epidemics.
Also speaking at the summit, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said, in order to avoid having to face such an emergency again like the Ebola, he has established a High-Level Panel on “Lessons Learned, “chaired by President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania.
“As we look forward, I call on the international community to support the recovery and peace-building Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone,” the UN Secretary General said. “These efforts must also recognize the fragility of these countries’ transitions from past conflicts and instability to sustainable peace and development.”
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde also reaffirmed full support of the IMF for the three countries in the effort to contain Ebola and bring about economic recovery.
Major development partners, including the United States, the European Union, Great Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, China, Japan, African Development Bank, pledged to fully back effort to contain the Ebola virus, as well as promote sustainable economic recovery and reconstruction.
Meanwhile, over US $ 1 billion dollar was pledged by various institutions during the summit for the sub-regional Social-economic Recovery Plan.