4 December 2012

ECOWAS, Venezuela Sign Anti-Malaria Agreement

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Abidjan - Cote d'Ivoire — ECOWAS and the Government of the Bolivarian Republic if Venezuela in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire on Saturday, 1st December 2012, signed the Work Plan for the implementation of a 2009 Letter of Intent between them for the elimination of Malaria in West Africa.

The Agreement in support of the ECOWAS Malaria Elimination Campaign, through the strengthening of vector control intervention, was initialled by the President of the ECOWAS Commission His Excellency Kadre Desiré Ouedraogo, and the Venezuelan Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs for Africa, Honourable Reinaldo Bolivar on the sidelines of the 69th Ordinary session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers.

Both parties signed the Letter of Intent in Venezuela in 2009, within the framework of the ECOWAS campaign to eliminate malaria in West Africa by 2015, and for the creation of a multilateral fund for cooperation on health, education, agriculture, energy and infrastructure. This is a follow-up to the Tripartite Agreement by ECOWAS, Cuba and Venezuela to support the ECOWAS anti-malaria campaign through the establishment of biolarvicide factories in West Africa, capacity building and technology transfer.

President Ouedraogo explained that high-level meetings held in Cuba and Venezuela in April 2012 and in Abidjan had resulted in the finalisation of the Work Plan which emphasizes the need to take all necessary measures to accelerate the implementation of identified activities.

"This Agreement addresses in particular, matters relating to the construction of factories, implementation mechanism for the multilateral fund and capacity building in response to the challenges of malaria scourge in West Africa," he affirmed.

For his part, honourable Bolivar expressed his satisfaction at the signing of the accord within the framework of South-South cooperation which, according to him, should grow significantly in view of similarities between Africa and South America, and especially given the potentials of the two regions.

Describing the agreement as important not only for Africa, but also for south of Venezuela, which is also affected by malaria, he noted that a number of meetings had taken place to translate into action the Letter of Intent signed during the second South America-Africa Summit on the Venezuelan island of Margarita in September 2009.

Malaria is both a major public health problem and a development issue in West Africa. It is associated with poverty, and according to World Bank figures, costs Africa about US$12 billion a year.

The ECOWAS Campaign is to complement and coordinate on-going efforts in Member countries to enhance the vector control component of an integrated strategy for the elimination of malaria. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified vector control as the only action that can reduce high malaria transmission rates to almost zero.

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