As the world bids farewell to global statesman and former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, the African Development Bank joins a continent in mourning in paying tribute to this extraordinary son of Africa.
The Bank celebrates the towering memory of this great Ghanaian and his service to Africa and the world.
The passing of Kofi Annan is a colossal loss not only for Africa and humanity, but, in particular, for the African Development Bank. He was a cherished partner of the Bank throughout his years as the seventh Secretary General of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006 and up to the time of his death.
Mr. Annan joined the United Nations in 1962, just two years before the founding of the African Development Bank. Whether as the world’s top diplomat or as head of the Kofi Annan Foundation which he established after his U.N. service, his ideals and commitment to the cause of a better Africa complemented and helped push the agenda of the Bank.
He was a constant advocate for human rights, the rule of law, the Millennium Development Goals and Africa. He sought to bring the U.N. closer to the global public by forging ties with civil society, the private sector and other partners.
Mr. Annan held a special place for the Bank and was instrumental in several major initiatives.
He was a staunch advocate of the Bank’s ‘New Deal on Energy for Africa’, a partnership-driven effort, which aims to achieve universal access to energy in Africa by 2025 and was appointed its “Champion”.
In 2016, Mr. Annan co-chaired the Special Panel on Accelerating the Implementation of the African Development Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy, launched by Bank President Akinwumi Adesina. Mr. Annan also joined President Adesina as a founding member of the Bank’s African Leaders for Nutrition Initiative, tasked with fighting malnutrition across the continent with the support of the highest-levels of government.
He spearheaded several initiatives on Africa, including his chairmanship of the Africa Progress Panel and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.
In April 2001, in Abuja, Nigeria, at a summit of African leaders, Mr. Annan made the first explicit public call for a new funding mechanism, proposing the creation of The Global Fund, to be dedicated to the battle against HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. He made the first contribution to the Global Fund in 2001.
According to Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, “Mr. Annan’s passion, commitment and dedication to bettering the lives of people in Africa, and the world will not be forgotten. He was an outstanding champion of development and has left a lasting footprint through his actions and words.”
Mr. Annan passed away peacefully on the morning of Saturday 18 August in Berne, Switzerland. His wife Nane, three children and grandchildren survive him.