9 Nov 2014

Business leaders pledge $30m for Ebola

1:51 pm on 9 November 2014

Top African business leaders have established an emergency fund to help countries hit by the Ebola outbreak.

Patrice Motsepe is among a group of African business leaders who have pledged US$28.5m to fight Ebola.

Patrice Motsepe is among a group of African business leaders who have pledged US$28.5m to fight Ebola. Photo: AFP

A pledging meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, raised US$28.5m, which will be managed by the African Development Bank and used to deploy at least 1000 health workers to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Experts say that if the disease is to be speedily contained, it needs to be tackled in these three countries.

Nearly 5000 people out of about 14,000 cases have been killed by the virus, most of them in Liberia.

The business leaders that met in Ethiopia said they had been surprised by the negative perception Ebola had created throughout Africa, the BBC reported.

South Africa's only black billionaire mining magnate, Patrice Motsepe, was one of the backers of the funding:

"This is a humble initiative by the business community and various others to take the responsibility. We are absolutely confident we will defeat Ebola. Africa will overcome Ebola."

Mr Motsepe personally donated more than $1 million to the fight against Ebola last week.

It was announced at the same meeting in Ethiopia that African mobile phone companies would next month launch a scheme for subscribers to contribute funds via text message.

The chairman of the telecoms company Econet Wireless, Strive Masiyiwa, said he hoped others would follow this example.

"This is not just about big business. It's also about ordinary Africans participating in this," he said.

"Having started as an African initiative, colleagues in other parts of the world wish to participate. The Ebola crisis is not an African problem, it is a global problem."

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