Why Africa’s private sector must join the fight against malaria

Blog • 18 August 2020

Attributed to Josephine Anan-Ankomah, Ecobank Group Executive Commercial Banking

Whilst the world grapples with COVID-19, malaria continues to plague the African continent. According to the World Health Organization’s latest World Malaria Report, malaria caused 400,000 deaths in 2018. We know a lot about this disease, it has been around for centuries, and today we have what we need to prevent and treat it. It is therefore no longer acceptable that so many people around the world continue to suffer from this dreadful, life threatening illness.

Although we have the tools that we need to alleviate suffering from malaria, and despite all the efforts made by governments and international partners around the world, funding for the fight against this disease remains a fundamental challenge. In fact, an annual US $2 billion in additional global funding is required to reach all those at risk of contracting malaria.

To help close this funding gap, the role of Africa’s thriving private-sector cannot be underestimated. Therefore on 2nd July, Ecobank Group amplified its commitment to ending malaria by launching the Zero Malaria Business Leadership Initiative in partnership with Dakar-based advocacy think tank Speak Up Africa.

This new programme sets out to drive private-sector engagement in Africa’s fight against malaria, by advocating for stronger political will, increased funding, and more targeted disease elimination responses. As part of the African Union and RBM Partnership to End Malaria’s Zero Malaria Starts with Me movement – which seeks to engage communities in the fight – this initiative forms an important pillar. The initiative will see Africa’s dedicated business sector use its position to help thousands of people across the continent.  

Ultimately, ending malaria will increase prosperity in the communities where we work by creating a healthier, more productive workforce that can drive economic growth. Ending this disease is advantageous for all – and will allow our continent to flourish and grow.

We encourage more businesses to join us and work towards the goal of a malaria free Africa. Together we can mobilise businesses and business leaders across the continent to invest in their workforce and communities to fight the disease. It is simply good business to protect our communities from this disease, and together we have both the power and fortitude to create everlasting change for our continent and its people.

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