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Global Alliance of Mayors and Leaders meet in Accra

BY: Charles Andoh & Mavis Paintsil
Members of the Global Alliance of Mayors, ministers of State and some  development partners pledging their support for the association. Those in the picture include Mr  Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije (5th left), President of the Global Alliance of Mayors, Ms Hanna Tetteh (6th left), Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mrs  Elizabeth Ofosu   Agyare( 4th left), Minister of Culture, Tourism and Creative Arts

The Global Alliance of Mayors and Leaders from Africa and of African Descent (GAMLAAD) has called on the international community and financial institutions such as the World Bank and IMF to cancel all financial obligations owed them by the three worst-hit Ebola countries in West African.

The group, which represents over 80 countries across the globe, said Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea had serious challenges with their economies due to the epidemic.

President and Chairman of GAMLAAD, Mr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, made the call at the opening ceremony of a three-day conference in Accra last Saturday. 

“This humanitarian gesture will sincerely express the world’s most committed relief to the people of the worst affected countries,” he said.

Dependence on donor support 

The worst affected countries largely depend on foreign aid and donor support for the growth of their national economies.

Investment in infrastructure such as roads, electricity and water supply have all been affected since a chunk of money has been pumped into efforts to contain the disease in the affected countries.

The agriculture and mining sectors in Sierra Leone, for instance, are likely to face severe challenges due to the outbreak of the Ebola viral disease.

According to reports, farmers in Sierra Leone had abandoned their cocoa and coffee farms, leading to a high reduction in export of the two produce. This has largely affected the growth and inflation rates in the country.

More assistance for affected countries 

Conceding that the world  bodies had made some efforts, Mr Vanderpuije, who is also the chief Executive the Metropolitian Assambly (AMA), indicated that there was the need to do more to help the people in those nations.

“The Global Alliance of Mayors and Leaders from Africa and of African Descent expresses appreciation and commendation to the UN under the leadership of Mr Ban Ki Moon for all the efforts that have been put together to mobilise the international community for resources to remedy the Ebola situation of the world,” he said.

He also recognised the efforts of President John Dramani Mahama as the Chairman of ECOWAS and other African leaders for the key roles they played in helping to control the disease since its outbreak.

Tell Africa’s story 

Addressing participants and delegates at the conference, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Hannah Tetteh, called on African leaders and indigenes to tell the African story the African way.

She added that it would be inimical to the growth and development of the African continent if its own people could not tell their own story. 

“We must communicate our own stories about our culture, music and dance to the world the African way. The world can only know that Africa is rising through our own efforts,” Ms Tetteh said.