Johnson-Sirleaf elected president of the Africa Leaders Malaria Alliance

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was recently elected president of the Africa Leaders Malaria Alliance.

Johnson-Sirleaf will take over the position from the organization's founding leader, Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete. ALMA was founded by the leaders of several African nations to help coordinate malaria control efforts on the continent, according to

Johnson-Sirleaf, speaking at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, praised Kikwete for his efforts and leadership. She said she hopes to build upon the progress that has already been made towards eradicating malaria completely in Africa.

Johnson-Sirleaf said that there has been a 33 percent decline in deaths related to malaria infection in Africa over the past decade. She attributed much of the decline to the efforts made by African heads of state, individuals and institutions dedicated to fighting the disease.

The alliance faces potential difficulties due to a financing gap of nearly $3.3 million. Johnson-Sirleaf attributed the funding problem to the global financial crisis and said it could threaten the achievement of the continent's Millennium Development Goals, including those related to the fight against malaria, reports.

Kikwete urged ALMA to continue its efforts despite the growing financial concerns.

"Please continue the good work for the many men, women and particularly children of Africa whose lives have been saved because of the service that ALMA is providing," Kikwete said, reports.