The Mano River Union (MRU) Heads of State have requested development partners to remain engaged, noting the need for continuous support at this critical state in ending the Ebola virus disease in Sierra Leone and Guinea.
They also reaffirmed their commitment and determination to fully implement the program for the rapid recovery of the socio-economic systems of the Ebola- affected MRU states.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the commitment was contained in a Declaration of MRU Heads of State and Government on the eradication of Ebola and post-Ebola socio-economic recovery during the 3rd Extraordinary Summit which took place in the Guinean capital, Conakry on Sunday, June 28.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf joined her colleagues, host and current Chair of MRU, Guinean President Alpha Condé; Sierra Leone’s President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma; and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Representative of Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, Mr. Charles Koffi Diby. Also present were the President of the World Bank and development partners.
The MRU leaders have committed themselves to a two-year period and priority areas of the sub-regional and national programs.
The release pointed out that during the next two years, the focus will be on nine priority areas initially presented in Washington, D.C. in April, 2015, clustered into two priority levels.
The first level, estimated at US$1.76 billion, among other things focuses on six program areas: health, water, sanitation, hygiene; governance, peace and security; agriculture, fisheries and food security; gender, youth and social protection; program management and monitoring, and private sector support program.
The second level estimated at US$2.24 billion focuses on three program areas, including road, energy access and information and communication technology.
The MRU Heads of State and Government agreed that a Basket/Trust Fund arrangement be instituted for the mobilization of required resources for the recovery program and additionally direct budget support be provided for the financing of respective national programs.
Additional resources will be mobilized to enable the States pursue the ongoing programs and taking into account the urgent economic situation in the three States, specific measures be taken to ensure rapid and efficient disbursements of declared funds, the release noted.
They stressed that the recovery issues outlined in the recovery program are indispensable to put the Member States back on their respective development trajectories which will create a greater resilience in the sub-region.
They expressed deep gratitude to their citizens for their understanding and adherence to the health emergency measures enacted, despite the difficult and challenging conditions; noting that this understanding they have shown, has significantly contributed to the achievement of results.