We are a group of eleven companies operating in West Africa. We are understandably concerned about the impact of the Ebola virus on affected countries’ economies and the well-being of their people, which is being compounded by subsequent decisions and actions that affect travel to and trade with the region. Our companies have made long term commitments to these countries and their people and we intend to honor that commitment.
We have strong ties to hundreds of local communities that depend on our operations. Despite the challenging environment, we are continuing where possible with normal operations, with the health and safety of our employees being the absolute priority at all times.
We have enormous respect for the organizations and selfless individuals working to contain this outbreak and are committed to support them and the governments concerned to bring the epidemic to an end. As a group we are in regular dialogue with governments, NGOs and other task forces involved to support their work.
We also recognize that a larger coordinated global effort is required. The global community has a strong track record in responding to natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes. We need a similar strength of resolve to tackle an epidemic that has the potential to cause great harm to this region.
We therefore urge the international community to pool its resources and lend support to help reverse the virus and enable these countries to recover as swiftly as possible from dealing with the epidemic. Furthermore, there is a risk the measures being taken to restrict travel to the countries most impacted by the virus will aggravate the growing humanitarian crisis.
Ebola is without doubt a horrific virus. But it is a virus that with the right understanding, precautions and processes in place should be avoided and containable. That’s why we are calling for the immediate opening of humanitarian and economic corridors to the affected countries and urge the international community to respect the ECOWAS call to lift any travel bans in accordance with the WHO recommendation.
Without the support of the international community, the situation for these economies, many of whom are only beginning to return to stability after decades of civil war, will be even more catastrophic.