Ebola speaks all languages. Francophone nations must act now, before hope fades for West Africa.

Together with other international development organisations and African music artists, we're calling on Heads of States attending the 2014 Francophone Summit in Dakar to commit to concrete actions to help stop the spread of Ebola.

Open letter

27 Nov 2014

As we write this letter, 35 heads of state and governments are preparing for the 15th Francophone Summit in Dakar.

As we write this letter, Ebola is claiming thousands of lives and affecting millions more. Ebola has killed more than 5,000 people and infected over 14,500 in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and has now spread to Mali. We watch with great sadness as the death toll continues to rise.

As we write this letter, women are dying and children are being orphaned. As of October 2014, 55% of deaths were women.

As we write this letter, thousands of health professionals are painstakingly trying to save lives, sometimes at the expense of their own.

As we write this letter, borders are closing, mistrust is mounting and all of Africa is being stigmatised.

Without international support as large as the crisis itself, every day hope fades for those living under the shadow of Ebola.

The International Organisation of La Francophone (OIF) unites 77 member countries, yet so far they have failed to speak out on a major humanitarian health crisis affecting the second biggest French speaking area in the world.

As you are meeting in Dakar, as heads of states and governments, you will no doubt speak of solidarity with the victims of Ebola. However, more than words are needed to put an end to Ebola. You must use the summit in Dakar to come together and commit to concrete actions to help stop the spread of Ebola and reduce the suffering of your brothers and sisters in the affected countries.

Ebola has no language – it kills indiscriminately. Francophone nations must act now, before hope fades for West Africa.

The immediate priority is to rapidly scale-up operations on the ground and to help secure much-needed staff, equipment, and medical supplies – before it’s too late!

Ebola is more than a health crisis. It threatens West Africa’s economic growth and food security. It makes us fear for the livelihoods of those affected as cross border trade shut downs and the serious shortages of manpower and materials looms over them. The economic isolation of countries suffering from Ebola must stop!

Neighbouring countries must also prioritise measures to prevent future Ebola outbreaks within their own borders, through information sharing, awareness raising, training of medical practitioners, and preparation of early warning systems and crisis management procedures.

Once this horrible crisis is over, continued support will be needed to rebuild damaged health systems, re-open schools, enable food security, develop and sustain safe water and sanitation facilities, support orphaned children, and combat any ongoing stigmatisation. For all of the above reasons and many more, we expect Francophone leaders from Africa and beyond to use the Francophone Summit to commit to concrete and sustainable actions that will help eradicate Ebola and help prepare West Africa for future crises.

As President Léopold Sédar Senghor once said: “What unites the French speaking world is its integral humanism and the union of dormant energies from across all continents.” Building on this call for solidarity, we, the artists of West Africa, call on the participants at the 15th Francophone Summit to work together to stop the despair and suffering caused by Ebola.

We hope that our voices will be heard and that action against Ebola will become a priority focus for the Francophone Summit. Show the people of West Africa that you are responding to their call for support!


Baba Maal, Artiste musicien- Sénégal
Richard Bona, Artiste musicien- Cameroun
Ismael Lo, Artiste musicien- Sénégal
Amadou et Mariam, Artistes musiciens- Mali
Didier Awadi, Artiste musicien- Sénégal
Sekou Ba Bambino, Artiste musicien- Guinée
Smarty, Artiste musicien- Burkina Faso
Smockey, Artiste musicien- Burkina Faso
Moussa SENE Absa, Cinéaste – réalisateur, Sénégal
Oumou Sangare, Artiste musicien- Mali
Alain Gomis, Cinéaste – réalisateur- Sénégal
Dany Lee, Artiste musicien- Niger
Vieux Farka Toure , Artiste musicien- Mali
Omara "Bombino" Moctar , Artiste musicien- Niger
Coumba Gawlo Seck, Artiste musicien- Sénégal
Bajah from Bajah and the Dry Eye Crew, Artiste musicien -Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars (Reuben M Koroma, Ashade Pearce, Jahson Bull, Dennis Sannoh, Christopher Davies, Jeffery Nature Kamara)-Sierra Leone