Ebola conference seeks end to West Africa outbreak

2015-03-03 07:43
A man walks past an ebola campaign banner with the new slogan 'Ebola Must GO' in Monrovia. (ZooM Dosso, AFP)

A man walks past an ebola campaign banner with the new slogan 'Ebola Must GO' in Monrovia. (ZooM Dosso, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Brussels - Leaders of Ebola-hit countries in West Africa will attend an international conference in Brussels on Tuesday to mobilise a final push to end the outbreak and ensure the delivery of nearly $5bn in aid pledges.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma and Alpha Conde of Guinea, the three countries hardest hit by the epidemic, will be joined by top officials from around the world for the EU-backed meeting.

The conference comes as Sierra Leone's vice president remains in self-imposed quarantine after one of his bodyguards died from Ebola amid a recent spike in cases following a long decline.

"It will be a very difficult and painstaking task," UN Ebola envoy David Nabarro told a briefing on the eve of the conference.

More than 9 500 people have died of the disease since the west African epidemic emerged in southern Guinea in December 2013.

Nabarro said the number of new cases had declined from around 900 a week to 100, but that cases appeared to be climbing back up in the coastal regions of Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Officials from the European Union, China, the United States, Cuba and Australia will be in Brussels alongside the United Nations, the World Bank and other international organisations trying to wipe out the disease in West Africa.

"The purpose of this conference is getting to zero" in terms of human cases, an EU official involved in the talks said separately, but added: "The curve is flattening out, but definitely it is not at zero."
- Rebuilding economies -

Nonetheless, officials acknowledged there was less alarm about Ebola this year than a few months ago when people feared it could spread to Europe or other parts of Africa.

In fact, another EU official said, Nigeria, Senegal and Mali have all managed to show that Ebola cases can be reduced to zero after they too were hit by the virus.

Officials said countries around the world have so far pledged $4.9bn to fight Ebola, with $2.4bn disbursed until now.

"This conference is not really a pledging conference but rather an occasion to take stock to urge countries that have not yet disbursed to disburse what they have actually already pledged," one official said.

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank will then host a conference in April in Washington to see if there are still financial gaps, followed by another called by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in May, Nabarro said.

EU officials organising the Brussels event said the conference will also focus on how to revive economic development in West Africa.

According to World Bank estimates, the countries at the centre of the Ebola epidemic are forecast to lose 12% of their combined gross domestic product this year.

Read more on:    un  |  eu  |  ban ki moon  |  belgium  |  ebola  |  west africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.