Ebola: World Bank excludes Nigeria from $105m grant

THE PUNCH Newspaper- Everest Amaefule

The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a $105m grant to finance Ebola-containment efforts in West African countries infected with the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease.

A statement issued by the bank in Washington on Wednesday, however, excluded Nigeria as a beneficiary of the fund.

The bank said the fund would help families and communities in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone cope with the economic impact of the Ebola crisis, and rebuild and strengthen essential public health systems in the three worst-affected countries to guard against future disease outbreaks.

The new grant is part of the $200m Ebola emergency mobilisation first announced by the WBG in early August.

The WBG said its new Ebola Emergency Response project will mobilise $52m for Liberia, the country with the highest number of Ebola infections; $28m for Sierra Leone, and $25m for Guinea.

According to World Bank, the allocation of the Ebola fund was calculated according to the World Health Organisation’s road map and assessments of the relative severity of the epidemic in each country.

Although international organisations and the United States have praised Nigeria for the effective containment of Ebola which was imported into the country by Liberian American, Mr. Patrick Sawyer, on July 24, many Nigerians travelling abroad have faced embarrassment as a result of the disease.

The WBG said that it would almost certainly mobilise more financing for the countries since the immediate response is still significantly under-resourced for the purposes of curbing the outbreak.

Presenting the new project to the WBG Board of Executive Directors, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, said the Ebola grant would have a long-term regional development impact.

He said it was an important part of a coordinated international response led by the United Nations and WHO.

Kim said, “The world needs to do much, much more to respond to the Ebola crisis in these three countries.

“This new World Bank grant, which will arrive soon in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, will have an immediate, positive impact on their collective Ebola containment campaigns.

“I would like to personally thank our Board of Directors for responding so quickly to this crisis.”

In its project document for the new operation, the WBG noted that Ebola-related restrictions on people’s movements were leading to food crises in the quarantined and most affected areas where the three countries intersect.

In the Mano River region, food insecurity is spreading rapidly. More than one million people in the region are facing a food crisis in the coming months. Furthermore, as the crisis continues to evolve, this threat may spread to other areas due to quarantine or other disruptions in movement of goods and people, the bank said.


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