In a letter published in a number of newspapers, magazines and websites across Africa, leaders of civil society and business have called for more solidarity and a more coordinated approach to deal with the recent Ebola outbreak.
Ebola is having great economic and social impact, more so in a young democracy such as Liberia which has come out of a long and debilitating civil war. The response has often been knee jerk and counter productive, such as the closing of borders and cancellation of flights, something which both the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have denounced.
This call for action, which through a petition is attracting an increasing number of signatories, calls for all citizens to play their role and demands a coordinated and rational response from African governments and international institutions.
High profile leaders such as former Presidents Mkapa of Tanzania and Obasanjo of Nigeria have signed the petition, as well as Graça Machel, civil society leader and wife of the late President Mandela, the singer and former Minister Youssour N’Dour and a number of prominent leaders and personalities from music, media and business.
Open letter published in newspapers, magazines and websites across Africa:
Citizens Call to Action against Ebola
As the Ebola virus becomes an overwhelming human catastrophe affecting public health, social institutions and economic well-being in Africa, we stand in solidarity with our fellow citizens in the countries victimized by this deadly disease.
We also thank and salute the local and international health workers who are risking their lives daily, intervening on the ground to eradicate the scourge of Ebola, often without access to gloves and other protective supplies.
We acknowledge and applaud the decision of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) health ministers to call for the lifting of travel bans to Ebola affected countries, which are hampering the fight against Ebola and restricting the arrival of essential expertise and equipment, as well as fuel to provide electricity, medications to treat other deadly diseases such as malaria and food to prevent famine.
In the name and interest of our common humanity, we are collectively launching this urgent Citizens’ Call to Action.
We call on our respective Heads of State and Government to avoid full embargo against Ebola-affected states. While we understand the legitimate concerns for the protection of their population, we remind African leaders of their obligation to pan-African solidarity and the global community of their humanitarian obligations in emergencies. We urge the following immediate actions:
Ensure that the flow of essential assistance can reach those in need, while maintaining economic activity necessary for sustaining life in cities and villages, by
* Authorizing and implementing the local recommendations issued by the World Health Organization (WHO)
* Acknowledging the impossibility of quarantining entire nations and instead establish much-needed economic and humanitarian corridors of access – essential life-lines – both within the affected countries and between countries.
We call on African opinion leaders – including artists, athletes, filmmakers, writers, journalists, academics – to initiate or to actively take part in public information campaigns on prevention and transmission of the Ebola. These can happen via road-shows, film screenings, theatrical pieces, discussion groups, and the distribution of messages via cellphonenetworks. And we call upon global opinion leaders to add their talents and voices in support.
We call on the broad private sector, the pharmaceutical industry, and the research community, in particular, to fund, facilitate and make immediately available access to all known methods of prevention and treatment of this menacing threat to our global well-being.
Join the call by signing the petition at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/ebola-stop-quarantine-of-entire-countries.html
Signed on August 31, 2014
Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President, Federal Republic of Nigeria
Benjamin Mkapa, Former President of Tanzania
Mrs Graca Machel, President, Foundation for Community Development
Bineta Diop , Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security, African Union
Youssou N’Dour, Singer
Ali Mufuruki, InfoTech Investment Group
Kandeh Yumkella, Chairman, UN-Energy and former Director-General
Zainab Bangura, Special Representative, UN Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict
Ashish Thakkar, Founder, MARA Group
Frannie Leautier, Founder, Mkoba Group
Wendy Luhabe, Africa Chairperson, Cartier Foundation for Women Entrepreneurs
Dele Olojede, Journalist, Pulitzer Prize Winner
Amadou Mahtar Ba, Executive Chairman, Co Founder AllAfrica Global Media
Akere Muna, Presiding Officer, AU Economic, Social and Cultural Council
Mamadou Toure, Founder, Africa 2.0
Thelma Awori, Chair, Institute for Social Transformation, former UNDP Director
Angelle Kwemo, Founder & Chair Believe in Africa
Linus Gitahi, CEO, Nation Media Group
Prof. Ousmane Kane, Harvard University
Ebrima Sall, Executive Secretary, CODESRIA
Slim Othmani. CEO, NCA-Rouiba, Chairman Algeria Business Council
Prof. Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Columbia University
Prof. Alioune Sall, Director, African Futures Institute, South Africa
Prof. Mamadou Diouf, Columbia University
Trevor Ncube, Deputy Executive Chair, Mail&Guardian
Omar Ben Yedder, Group Publisher and Managing Director, IC Publications
Oulimata Sarr, Country Coordinator, IFC Advisory Services
Férial Haffajee, Editor In Chief, City Press
Zyad Limam, Director Afrique Magazine
Aminata Forna, Professor of creative writing and award-winning author
Mahen Bonetti, Founder & Executive Director, African Film Festival, Inc.
Fatou Wurie, Activist
Aliou Goloko, CEO, Goal Communication
Reed Kramer, CEO, AllAfrica Global Media
Aly Leno, Président, Union des Journalistes Culturels et Animateurs de Guinée )
Tidiane Soumah, PDG, Todoane World Music
Dr Tendai Mhizha, CEO Integra Africa
Samba Bathily, PDG, ADS
Prof. Cheikh Ibrahima Niang, UCAD
Prof. Penda Mbow, UCAD
Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o, former minister, Kenya
Dr Tami Hultman, CEO, AllAfrica Foundation
Soyata Maiga, Special Rapporteur, Women Human Rights in Africa
Harriette Williams Bright, Femmes Africa Solidarité
Isham Elgar, Olympic and World Champion
Younes Maamar CEO, Eone Investments
Prof. Fatima Harrak, President CODESRIA, Mohamed V Souissi, University.
Prof. Kwadwo Ansah Koram, Director, Noguchi Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana, Legon
Prof. Adam Habib, Vice Chancellor, University of Witwatersrand
Prof. Olive Shisana, CEO, Human Sciences Research Council
Prof. Suren Pilley, University of Western Cape
Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA).