By: Yaw Sarpong
The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Board Chairman, Tony O Elumelu has announced the donation of US$1million to assist the fight against Ebola in West Africa, where UBA does business.
The three West African affected countries are Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
The gift will be distributed through the UBA Foundation, UBA’s corporate social responsibility arm and shared equally among the three affected West African countries. The remaining US$100,000 is to be contributed to the African Union Support Mission to the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA), initiated by the African Union Chair Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
“Africa is our home and our destiny and African’s need to place themselves at the forefront of the campaign to overcome this tragedy. This donation is an affirmation of our unshakeable commitment to the continent - and a message that Africa can triumph over this terrible affliction,’ she stated.
Mr. Elumelu commended UBA Africa staffs in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone who have kept every branch and ATM open throughout this testing time. ‘They have demonstrated our corporate value of resilience and commitment that the business and progress of Africa must and should go on,” said Mr. Elumelu.
"Our money will be directed immediately to strengthening capacity in the fight against the further spread of the disease" he further stated. "Our hope is that this donation will act as a catalyst for other African corporates to play their part,” he added.
In August, The Tony Elumelu Foundation donated US$600,000 to the same cause, making unrestricted grants to the Ebola response institutions, designated by the Presidents of Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.
Acknowledging the donation by the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said, “While we have mobilized our national resources as best we can, they are still inadequate to respond to an epidemic of this scale; we appreciate friends of Liberia, like you, who have come to our assistance in our national moment of need.”
This important precedent of African funded support, comes as West African and global development leaders have recently appealed for an increased effort to contain the epidemic.
The United Nations estimates that at least 5,000 international medical, training and support personnel are needed in the three countries over the coming months.
“I want to commend the Chairperson of the African Union, Dr. Dlamini Zuma and Strive Masiyiwa, for presiding over a very successful AU meeting with the private sector to mobilize financial contributions and business solutions, to facilitate a robust African response to Ebola. I am also very proud of my colleagues in the African private sector for demonstrating that we can rise to the occasion and help fund and support the AU deployment of the healthcare workers to care for our fellow Africans, and I urge more African business to step up to the plate with more pledges,” added Tony Elumelu.
With operations in 19 African countries, including the three countries currently battling Ebola, UBA provides financial services to Africans and Africa-related businesses globally and across Africa. UBA branches have remained open to attend to customers banking needs, with not a single UBA business office or ATM closing in Sierra Leone, Guinea or Liberia.