Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 July 2015
According to Reuters, David Nabarro – the United Nations’ special envoy for Ebola, said today Monday, that the Ebola outbreak in Africa has not yet run its course, with around 30 people being infected a week (exclusively in Sierra Leone and Guinea).
“Probably about one third of these people are not coming from the contact list, which means they are surprise cases, and that’s a big worry,” Nabarro told a conference organised by the World Health Organisation in Cape Town.
Also, in New York today, the United Nations announced that the international community pledged more than five billion dollars to support Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, at the high level United Nations Conference held in New York last Friday.
This money should help in their efforts to recover from the devastating effects of Ebola.
Opening the International Ebola Recovery Conference, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “Together, let us jumpstart a robust recovery process over the next two years, and usher in a better future for generations to come.”
The Secretary-General was joined by the Presidents of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and the Secretary-General of the Mano River Union, who were seeking international support as well as financial commitments for their national and regional recovery strategies over the next two years.
Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, who chaired the Conference, said: “We have seen a very encouraging response today.
“The preliminary figure for funds announced today amount to $3.4 billion, taking the total resources pledged for the recovery of the Ebola-affected countries to around five billion dollars.
“The whole spirit of optimism around the conference and the willingness of partners to see this as a long-term endeavour is hugely encouraging.”
Dr. David Nabarro, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola, said: “This is a very promising moment. The amount pledged represents a tremendous springboard for recovery. Everyone today has stressed that the partnership we have for the response to the outbreak must be sustained in to the period of recovery.
“The world is going to stand by these countries as they recover and help them get back on the track of equitable economic and social development.”
The United Nations organized the International Ebola Recovery Conference in partnership with the African Union, European Union, the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
A day of technical consultation on the recovery strategies on Thursday 9 July, was followed by the high level event on 10 July, convened by the Secretary-General, and attended by the Chairperson of the African Union – president Robert Mugabe, the Presidents of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and the Secretary-General of the Mano River Union.
I am with you on this one Al. Sadly, with all the goodwill in the world, I cannot see the donors getting tougher with president Koroma on accountability.
The reality here is that many of the ministers have already calculated what is going to be their share of the funding even before it arrives here in Salone: New houses to build, dozens of concubines to finance, new 4×4 to buy,etc, etc.
I have very little faith in this generation of salone leaders; not Koroma, not Maada Bio, nor Yumkella.
These guys have no track record of personal enterprise and successful personal initiative, other than perhaps their previous or current job roles, which invariably are questionable, like you pointed out about Bio.
We can laud Kandeh Yumkella for his performance at the UN, but let us ask the question: Could not the things that have happened under his watch taken place with someone else in that UN role? I ask this question, because what I would have liked to see is for Yumkella to show us his personal achievements here in salone, in terms of personal enterprise and business development, community enterprise development, etc.
After almost decades in the UN as head of Unido, I would have expected Yumkella to have been able to put some of that expertise he claims to have on innovation and value-chain development into practice in his home town of Kambia.
By now we should have been able to see his large-scale farms, growing oranges that are being converted in his factory or processing plants into orange juice; mango grown and converted to mango juice for export, thus creating thousands of jobs here in our native land salone.
I like the guy and wish him well. Perhaps right now he is even the best option for the presidency. But sadly I find him to be far too woolly and theoretical for my liking.
As for Bio, well the less said the better, though I will still fight for his right to the civil liberty many believe he denied others whilst in power. I am not a fan of his, but a pacifist who will fight for everyone’s right to civil liberty, just as long as they have not been found guilty by a court of law.
Having said all of that, Yumkella is in my opinion by far a better candidate for the presidency than Bio.
I agree with all the points in your response. On the Kandeh Yumkella issue, I have to declare that I am a supporter because I believe that he possess the personal integrity and leadership qualities that we need to bring about the paradigm shift in our political culture. But make no mistake – Dr Yumkella cannot achieve this on his own.
We have to ensure that Dr Yumkella’s aspirations for Sierra Leone and his integrity is not undermined and held captive by SLPP hacks – who are quite simply just waiting for their own opportunity to get hold of the kitty.
One person alone cannot change Sierra Leone however well intentioned and yes we do have a track record of prominent international public servants who at best have made no difference to our polity or who quite frankly have found Sierra Leone to be their “palm oil bottle”.
At this juncture – the choice of Victor Foh (or anyone from the APC) against Maada Bio, should fill anyone with as much dread as the Ebola Virus.
But on the issue at hand – the government’s inability to achieve zero cases should be a serious concern for all Sierra Leoneans. At best, it is evident of the gross incompetence and lack of leadership (the fish rots from the head first).
Only the other day, President Koroma was informing the media that he was travelling to Germany for his routine medical checks and seemed to bemoan the fact that he missed his appointment in 2014. The sense of entitlement and the disregard for those who cannot even gain access to basic medicines under his two terms should in itself stir up Sierra Leoneans to demand change.
On the other hand Ebola clearly is like hard currency and the funding it attracts makes a good substitute for the lost investment. There seems to be an trade-off between Ebola and Economic Growth and Ebola if backed up by $5bn is where the smart money is.
If you share the view of many of our elites that Ebola is a “Poor Man’s Disease” and if you are convinced that you can insulate yourself from this deadly scourge – then you may have a vested interest in its longevity – especially as it attracts more than a fistful of dollars.
$5 billion for all three countries? There will be celebrations going on in governmental circles, and for all the wrong reason. Dr Nabarro is not the only one who would see this as a promising moment.
It is absolutely necessary for robust audit processes to be put in place, before any funds is disbursed to Sierra Leone.
The international community should also demand the removal of anyone implicated in the $14 million Ebola money scandal, as a precondition for the release of donor funds.