Are Donors Sincere About Funding The Post-Ebola Recovery?
Though Sierra Leone is abundantly endowed with natural resources that could transform the country into a developed economy if properly managed by state authorities, the possibility of Government implementing the post-Ebola socio-economic recovery plan without support from donors or development partners as a developing nation does not practically exist. The unchecked corrupt practices in most of our public offices, coupled with the limited national resources, cannot make it possible for us as a nation to put our shoestring economy back on track after the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic unless donors come to our aid. But the one-million-dollar question begging for attention is: How concrete were the pledges made by donors to fund the post-Ebola recovery programme in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea that were hardest hit in the sub-region?
In a recent report, the United Kingdom based charity Oxfam called on donors and the Governments of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, the three hardest hit countries – to provide detailed information on how and aid is being provided.
According to the charity organization, “International donors have failed to deliver US$1.9 billion as promised funds to help West African countries recover from the Ebola epidemic that killed more than 11,000 people and decimated already weak healthcare system.” Oxfam disclosed that “the remaining US$3.9 billion pledged has been difficult to track because of “scant information” and “lack of transparency.” The Oxfam’s Regional Director for West Africa, Abubacry Tall, states: “We are finding it hard to understand which donors have given what money, to whom and for what purpose.” According to him, “More than US$5 billion was pledged by the international community in New York last July. At least, US$1.9 of that ‘still has not been allocated to a specific country in a pledge statement let alone through more firm commitments to specific recovery programme.”
It could be recalled that prior to the end of Ebola in Sierra Leone on Saturday 7th November last year, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma had assured that his Government would implement the post-Ebola economic recovery to bring our economy back on track. But how could it be possible if donors whom we largely depend on for the implementation have woefully failed to deliver US$1.9 billion in promised funds to help West African countries recover from the Ebola epidemic, including Sierra Leone?
What is more disturbing about the report of the UK charitable organization is that they are finding it difficult to understand which donors have given what money, to whom and for what purpose. Even the remaining US$3.9 billion pledged has been difficult to track because of “scant information” and “lack of transparency.” If donor support to the post-Ebola recovery plan in West Africa is shrouded in secrecy, then we should not expect the plan to be effectively implemented because none of the West African Governments would be sincere enough to pronounce how much they have received from international donors since there might be temptations for diversion of the funds to something else instead of the effective implementation of the post-Ebola recovery plan which is the only way to revamp our national economy after the devastating effect of the outbreak on the economy.
It is complete irony that international donors who preach about transparency and accountability in their dealings do transact business with the West African countries in relation to the post-Ebola recovery plan without the knowledge of other international key stakeholders that are part of the process. No wonder the international community already has been criticized for how it handled the Ebola crisis, such as the World Health Organization’s delay in declaring an international emergency for political and economic reasons and other responders’ failure to organize a strong response to the Ebola outbreak. Even so, none of the so-called senior officials involved in directing the Ebola response has been disciplined or fired.
If international donors are playing pranks about the promised funds to help West African countries recover from the Ebola epidemic, shall we take it that the Ebola outbreak was an international conspiracy to enrich officials and politicians involved in directing the Ebola response and leave the people in trauma, unemployment and abject penury? Of course, many Sierra Leoneans already have the feeling that the Ebola outbreak was an international conspiracy aimed at enriching certain class of officials and politicians because of greed, selfishness and self-aggrandizement.
It is my conviction that if Oxfam has started calling on the Governments of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea to provide detailed information on how aid is being provided for the pos-Ebola economic recovery, the Governments and international donors are probably hiding something from the world that could have negative impact on the so-called post-Ebola recovery plan.
Given the devastating effect of the Ebola outbreak on human lives and the economies of the three countries, international donors would have been transparent in their pledge to help the three countries recover from the Ebola epidemic.
The post-Ebola period is very crucial because all the gains our Government made prior to the outbreak were reversed and Sierra Leone hasn’t the resources to recover from those damages that were done by the epidemic. So if the so-called promised funds to help us recover from the Ebola epidemic have been shrouded in misery, it would take a very long time for Sierra Leone to recover from it.
Stay with Sierra Express Media, for your trusted place in news!
© 2016, https:. All rights reserved.