Open letter: Citizens Call to Action against Ebola – Petition

Open letter: Citizens Call to Action against Ebola – Petition

In an open letter, former heads of state, civil society and business leaders launched a petition call for more solidarity and a more coordinated approach to deal with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Citizens Call to Action against Ebola

As the Ebola virus becomes an overwhelming human catastrophe affecting public health, social institutions and economic well-being in Africa, we stand in solidarity with our fellow citizens in the countries victimized by this deadly disease. 

We also thank and salute the local and international health workers who are risking their lives daily, intervening on the ground to eradicate the scourge of Ebola, often without access to gloves and other protective supplies.

We acknowledge and applaud the decision of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) health ministers to call for the lifting of travel bans to Ebola affected countries, which are hampering the fight against Ebola and restricting the arrival of essential expertise and equipment, as well as fuel to provide electricity, medications to treat other deadly diseases such as malaria and food to prevent famine.

In the name and interest of our common humanity, we are collectively launching this urgent Citizens’ Call to Action. 

We call on our respective Heads of State and Government to avoid full embargo against Ebola-affected states. While we understand the legitimate concerns for the protection of their population, we remind African leaders of their obligation to pan-African solidarity and the global community of their humanitarian obligations in emergencies. We urge the following immediate actions:


Ensure that the flow of essential assistance can reach those in need, while maintaining economic activity necessary for sustaining life in cities and villages, by

  • Authorizing and implementing the local recommendations issued by the World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Acknowledging the impossibility of quarantining entire nations and instead establish much-needed economic and humanitarian corridors of access – essential life-lines – both within the affected countries and between countries.


We call on African opinion leaders – including artists, athletes, filmmakers, writers, journalists, academics – to initiate or to actively take part in public information campaigns on prevention and transmission of the Ebola. These can happen via road-shows, film screenings, theatrical pieces, discussion groups, and the distribution of messages via cellphone networks. And we call upon global opinion leaders to add their talents and voices in support.


We call on the broad private sector, the pharmaceutical industry, and the research community, in particular, to fund, facilitate and make immediately available access to all known methods of prevention and treatment of this menacing threat to our global well-being.

Join the call by signing the petition at

Signed on August 31, 2014

Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President, Federal Republic of Nigeria

Benjamin Mkapa, Former President of Tanzania

Mrs Graca Machel, President, Foundation for Community Development

Bineta Diop , Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security, African Union

Youssou N’Dour, Singer

Ali Mufuruki, InfoTech Investment Group

Kandeh Yumkella, Chairman, UN-Energy and former Director-General

Zainab Bangura, Special Representative, UN Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict 

Ashish Thakkar, Founder, MARA Group

AKON, Singer

Frannie Leautier, Founder, Mkoba Group

Wendy Luhabe, Africa Chairperson, Cartier Foundation for Women Entrepreneurs

Dele Olojede, Journalist, Pulitzer Prize Winner

Amadou Mahtar Ba, Executive Chairman, Co Founder AllAfrica Global Media

Akere Muna, Presiding Officer, AU Economic, Social and Cultural Council

Mamadou Toure, Founder, Africa 2.0

Thelma Awori, Chair, Institute for Social Transformation, former UNDP Director

Angelle Kwemo, Founder & Chair Believe in Africa

Linus Gitahi, CEO, Nation Media Group

Prof. Ousmane Kane, Harvard University

Ebrima Sall, Executive Secretary, CODESRIA

Slim Othmani. CEO, NCA-Rouiba, Chairman Algeria Business Council

Prof. Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Columbia University

Prof. Alioune Sall, Director, African Futures Institute, South Africa

Prof. Mamadou Diouf, Columbia University

Trevor Ncube, Deputy Executive Chair, Mail&Guardian

Omar Ben Yedder, Group Publisher and Managing Director, IC Publications

Oulimata Sarr, Country Coordinator, IFC Advisory Services

Férial Haffajee, Editor In Chief, City Press

Zyad Limam, Director Afrique Magazine

Aminata Forna, Professor of creative writing and award-winning author

Mahen Bonetti, Founder & Executive Director, African Film Festival, Inc.

Fatou Wurie, Activist

Aliou Goloko, CEO, Goal Communication

Reed Kramer, CEO, AllAfrica Global Media

Aly Leno, Président, Union des Journalistes Culturels et Animateurs de Guinée )

Tidiane Soumah, PDG, Todoane World Music

Dr Tendai Mhizha, CEO Integra Africa

Samba Bathily, PDG, ADS

Prof. Cheikh Ibrahima Niang, UCAD

Prof. Penda Mbow, UCAD

Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o, former minister, Kenya

Dr Tami Hultman, CEO, AllAfrica Foundation

Soyata Maiga, Special Rapporteur, Women Human Rights in Africa

Harriette Williams Bright, Femmes Africa Solidarité
Isham Elgar, Olympic and World Champion

Younes Maamar CEO, Eone Investments

Prof. Fatima Harrak, President CODESRIA, Mohamed V Souissi, University.

Prof. Kwadwo Ansah Koram, Director, Noguchi Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana, Legon

Prof. Adam Habib, Vice Chancellor, University of Witwatersrand

Prof. Olive Shisana, CEO, Human Sciences Research Council

Prof. Suren Pilley, University of Western Cape

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