Why is Sierra Leone left out of USA financial response to COVID-19 pandemic in Africa?

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 02 April 2020:

The U.S. Government has announced that it is leading the world’s humanitarian and health assistance response to the COVID-19 pandemic, mobilizing all necessary resources to respond rapidly, both at home and abroad.

The State Department and USAID are providing an initial investment of nearly $274 million in emergency health and humanitarian assistance to help countries in need, on top of the funding it already provides to multilateral organizations such as the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

This total to date includes nearly $100 million in emergency health assistance from USAID’s Global Health Emergency Reserve Fund and $110 million in humanitarian assistance from USAID’s International Disaster Assistance account, to be provided for up to 64 of the most at-risk countries facing the threat of this global pandemic.

Through the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) will receive $64 million in humanitarian assistance to help address the threats posed by COVID-19 in existing humanitarian crisis situations for some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

U.S. government agencies are working together to prioritize foreign assistance based on coordination and the potential for impact.  The United States is providing the following specific assistance:

Africa:

  • Angola: $570,000 in health assistance will help provide risk communication, water and sanitation, and infection prevention and control in key health facilities in Angola. This assistance comes on top of long-term U.S. investments in Angola including $613 million in health assistance and $1.48 billion total country investment over the past 20 years.
  • Burkina Faso: Nearly $2.1 million in health and humanitarian funding will go toward risk communication, water and sanitation activities, infection prevention and control, public health messaging, and more. Over the past 20 years, the United States has invested more than $222 million in health alone and more than $2.4 billion total in Burkina Faso.
  • Cameroon: $1.4 million in health assistance will help provide infection control in key health facilities, strengthen laboratories and surveillance, prepare communities, and bolster local messaging. This assistance builds upon more than $390 million in U.S. health assistance and more than $960 million total country investment over the past 20 years.
  • Cote d’Ivoire: $1.6 million in health assistance to help the government prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, risk communication, infection prevention and control, and more. Over the past 20 years, the United States has invested nearly $1.2 billion in Cote d’Ivoire’s health, and more than $2.1 billion in long term development and other assistance.
  • Ethiopia: $1.85 million to counter COVID-19 will go toward risk communication, water and sanitation activities, infection prevention, and coordination. This assistance joins the long-term U.S. investment in Ethiopia, including nearly $4 billion in health alone and more than $13 billion in total assistance over the past 20 years.
  • Kenya: $1 million in health assistance will bolster risk communication, prepare health-communication networks and media for a possible case, and help provide public health messaging for media, health workers, and communities. This COVID-19 specific assistance comes on top of long-term U.S. investment in Kenya, including $6.7 billion in health assistance alone, and more than $11.7 billion in development and other assistance over the last 20 years.
  • Mozambique: $2.8 million in emergency health funding will help provide risk communication, water and sanitation, and infection prevention and control in key health facilities in Mozambique. The United States has invested more than $3.8 billion in health assistance and nearly $6 billion total investment, including development and other assistance, over the past 20 years.
  • Nigeria: More than $7 million in health and humanitarian funding will go toward risk communication, water and sanitation activities, infection prevention, and coordination. This assistance joins more than $5.2 billion in U.S. health assistance and more than $8.1 billion in total assistance for Nigeria over the past 20 years.
  • Rwanda: $1 million in health assistance will help with surveillance and case management efforts in response to COVID-19. This comes on top of long-term U.S. investment in Rwanda including more than $1.5 billion in health and more than $2.6 billion in total assistance over the past 20 years.
  • Senegal: $1.9 million in health funding will go toward risk communication, water and sanitation, infection prevention and control, public health messaging, and more. In Senegal, the U.S. has invested nearly $880 million in health alone, and nearly $2.8 billion in total assistance over the past 20 years.
  • South Africa: $2.77 million in health assistance to counter COVID-19 will support risk communication, water and sanitation, infection prevention and control, public health messaging, and more. This assistance joins nearly $6 billion invested in health, and more than $8 billion in total assistance, by the United States for South Africa in the past 20 years.
  • Tanzania: $1 million in health assistance will help provide risk communication, water and sanitation, infection prevention and control, public health messaging, and more. The United States has invested nearly $4.9 billion in health alone and more than $7.5 billion total for Tanzania over the past 20 years.
  • Zambia: $1.87 million in health assistance will go toward risk communication, water and sanitation, infection prevention and control, public health messaging, and more. This new assistance joins nearly $3.9 billion in U.S. health assistance and nearly $4.9 billion total U.S. assistance for Zambia over the past 20 years.
  • Zimbabwe: $470,000 in health assistance will help the government to prepare laboratories for large-scale testing, support case-finding activities for influenza-like illnesses, and implement a public-health emergency plan for points of entry. This builds on a history of U.S. investments in Zimbabwe – nearly $1.2 billion in health alone, and nearly $3 billion total over the past 20 years.
  • In addition to health assistance, humanitarian funding is being provided for Central African Republic ($3 million), Democratic Republic of the Congo ($6 million), Somalia ($7 million), South Sudan ($8 million), and Sudan ($8 million). This assistance will primarily provide health-related support and supplies to bolster water and sanitation activities. The United States has a long, generous history of investing in the health and welfare of these countries’ citizens, and this humanitarian assistance comes on top of U.S. assistance over the past 20 years: $4.5 million in health and $822.6 million total for the Central African Republic; nearly $1.6 billion in health and nearly $6.5 billion total for the Democratic Republic of the Congo; nearly $30 million in health and $5.3 billion total for Somalia; more than $405 million in health and more than nearly $6.4 billion total for South Sudan; and more than $3 million in health and more than $1.6 billion total for Sudan.

In the past few years, the government of Sierra Leone has struggled to meet the USA’s threshold for accessing its Millennium Challenge Compact funding in support of tackling poverty, because of rampant corruption and poor governance.

Today, Sierra Leone is yet again being bypassed by the USA for its coronavirus pandemic response financial assistance to poor and developing countries in Africa.

14 Comments

  1. I want to believe this is because of our nature in mismanaging funds meant for a particular purpose. We need to lead and lead well. We pray for a reverse on the said decision.

  2. We are reading too much into this. UNHCR operations has scaled down dramatically for some time now. At decision time of dishing these monies, SL had not yet reported any case. This has nothing to do with governance.

  3. That is why we are fussing to have a case in the country – for selfish interest, which is bad for us. I tell you this, we still need leaders whose first interest is the citizens, but we still have a long way to go.

  4. Maybe we in Sierra Leone should take the hint and start looking to ourselves to do things. By the way, the US is, itself, apparently seeking and receiving aid to help it ‘fight coronavirus'(https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/01/coronavirus-russia-sends-plane-full-of-medical-supplies-to-us

    I’m surprised it has so much money to spend, uncharacteristically, in Africa. And perhaps Sierra Leone should count it’s blessings for not enjoying the attention of USAID (“USAID’s work advances U.S. national security and economic prosperity, demonstrates American generosity, and promotes a path to recipient self-reliance and resilience.” https://www.USAID.gov). Maybe that money would not serve Sierra Leone’s interests.

  5. I think Sierra Leone was at zero until recently. Much funds seem to have been given based on the burden of the disease. I would say wait and see

  6. This is a geopolitical give-away, a strategic effort in compromising countries’ that ‘matters’ in the current geo politics. A China effort.

  7. I feel some true empathy for Sierra Leone here for being left out on the UN help plan for the health assistance to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Although it is now since half a decade ago that the country has faced its worst epidemic, for sure its inhabitants are still haunted by it. Therefore, due to the previous trauma they experienced, Sierra Leone should be put among the top priorities regardless of UN’s eligibility criteria.

  8. Why should the USA give money for politicians to buy fancy car, fancy women, fancy clothes, fancy holidays. Just look at the rice saga. Just look at the ACC how much they reported looted from the people of Sierra Leone. The politicians have to think of the people – not themselves when in power.

  9. Mr Editor the answer to your rhetorical question laced as headline is simple. All the countries you have listed above have had thier first infections since February or early March. Sierra Leone on the other hand only recorded its first cases on 31st March. So I do not think that there is any cynical reason why Sierra Leone is not a beneficiary.

  10. The reason is very simple. Sierra Leoneans failed to vote for leaders and men like Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, Dr. Samura Kamara, Dr. Francis Kai Kai, Mr. Tamba Lamina and of course as you know, Chief Sam Sumana as their President, Head of State and Leader of Coordinating this dangerous Coronavirus in 2018. These men and many other Sierra Leoneans are capable of hunting and bringing aid from anywhere and from any difficult administration, anywhere in the world.

    That’s why, Sierra Leoneans must vote for Leaders who are well known and have the credentials, charisma, guts and skills to influence and persuade great men in places like Whitehall in UK and of course, congressmen/women and senators in the US in 2023. If we have capable and credible leaders, then ADMINISTRATIONS like the difficult Trump Administration and the No Nonsense Johnson Administration in the UK will be no problem in asking for their Tax Payers help. God help Sierra Leone vote in the APC in 2023. God graciously hear me.

    • Ngor Sahr, with due respect sir, Sam Sumana is not a leadership material. He has no reason to be around power, he lacks integrity and focus. In short, he’s a sham. Of course, (I’m APC) Samura, like Saumana is not a political leader. He lacks the charisma, the integrity and most importantly, the dignity and flair to do so. Only Yumkella on your list could be made a national leader, but even him, he lacks the nerve and will to become a political leader. He seems to be too obsessed with processes, and over cautious in being truly political. In fact, that’s is his single most drawback. And until he exhibits his political nerve, he’ll remain as one of the most underutilised resources the country has had in recent times.

      Ask Kandeh what went wrong with his ‘Citizenship’ drive that should have enabled diasporas (a very large potential voting market) to vote and be voted for in sierra Leone. Anyway, with some good political push-up lectures from some wizards, he could be the only one on your list that I could vote for aside my party. I’ll always vote against Dr Kamara and Sam Sumana.

    • Anyway, I never expected a genuine Sierra Leonean to put this into politics. You ought to know better sir.

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