Zero Malaria Business Leadership Initiative supports global movement for malaria elimination in Africa
The Ecobank Group has confirmed its commitment to support ending malaria, launching the first-of-its-kind Zero Malaria Business Leadership Initiative in partnership with Dakar-based policy and advocacy action tank, Speak Up Africa and the UN-hosted RBM Partnership to End Malaria.
The new programme is set out to drive private-sector engagement on the fight against malaria in Africa. It supports the Pan-African Zero Malaria Starts with Me Movement, led by the African Union and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria launched two years ago by African Heads of States at the 31st African Union Summit in Nouakchott.
The collaboration will support malaria affected countries across the continent, starting with Benin, Burkina Faso and Senegal by advocating for stronger political will, increased funding, and stronger targeted disease elimination responses. The campaign’s objectives are three-fold:
1) Foster domestic resource mobilisation for sustained financing of malaria control and elimination programs;
2) Mobilise businesses and business leaders to contribute to the reduction and elimination of malaria and
3) Leverage Ecobank’s networks and partners to reinforce or create collaborative platforms.
“Ultimately, ending malaria will increase prosperity across Africa, by creating a healthier workforce that can drive economic growth. The Ecobank Group is thrilled to collaborate with Speak Up Africa, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria and the African Union on the Zero Malaria Business Leadership Initiative, and to use its position as a platform for coordinated action against this treatable and preventable disease,” says Paul-Harry Aithnard, Regional Executive, UEMOA, Ecobank.
Originally launched in Senegal in 2014, Zero Malaria Starts with Me engages political leaders, the private sector and communities to take action to protect themselves from malaria, and the new initiative will continue to progress this mission. To date, 15 countries across the continent have rolled out their own national Zero Malaria campaigns.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that over $10bn is needed to implement national strategic plans for malaria control in 30 African countries over the next three years.
However, despite all the efforts made by governments, funding for the fight against malaria remains a challenge. An annual $2bn in additional global funding is required to reach all those at risk of malaria, outlining the importance of private-sector engagement.
Although global investments in the malaria fight have helped to save 7m lives and prevent more than 1bn cases of malaria since 2000, COVID-19 now threatens these hard-won gains. The WHO estimates that in the worst-case scenario, the new virus could double malaria deaths in 2020.