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Biography of Kofi ANNAN

Ghana > Politics : Kofi ANNAN

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Born on 08/04/1938 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Kofi Atta Annan (b. April 8 ,1938)  is the ex-secretary general; diplomat from Ghana. He is currently the chairman of The Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa, AGRA, was established  with an initial US$150 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Born April 8, 1938; married (1), divorced; married (2) Nane Cronstedt, 1984; children: one son, one daughter, one stepdaughter
Education: Macalester College, St. Paul, Minn, BEcon, 1961; Institut des Institut des Hautes Etudes Internationale, Switzerland, 1961-62; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan Fellow, MSc Mgmt, 1972.

A first person from sub-saharan Africa to head the United-Nations, Kofi Annan is also the first secreteary general to have risen through the ranks of that organization. A lifelong diplomat, Annan assumed the UN'S top post in January 1997 to serve a term ending December 31, 2006.

, Ghanaian diplomat, secretary-general of the United Nations (1997–2006), b. Kumasi. The scion of a family of Fante chieftains, he studied at Macalester College, St. Paul, Minn. (grad. 1961), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.A., 1972). Annan began working for the United Nations in 1962 (with the World Health Organization) and, except for a stint as head of Ghana's tourist ministry (1974–76), he was with UN bodies until he became secretary-general. He acquired special expertise in the areas of refugees and peacekeeping and in 1990 negotiated the release of UN staff and Western hostages held by Iraq following the invasion of Kuwait. Named (1993) undersecretary-general for peacekeeping operations, he was a special representative to the former Yugoslavia (1995–96), overseeing the transfer of peacekeeping duties from UN forces to NATO. His tenure during this period was marred by the failure of the United Nations, its members, and its peacekeeping forces to prevent the atrocities that occurred in Rwanda and Bosnia.
In 1997, Annan succeeded Boutros Boutros-Ghali as secretary-general, becoming the first sub-Saharan African to hold the office; he was elected to a second five-year term in 2001. Accessible and affably candid, combining idealism with realism, he generally was an effective consensus-builder. Annan particularly emphasized the UN's traditional obligations in the area of human rights and the newer challenges of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and international terrorism. He had some success in streamlining UN bureaucracy and controlling its budget and, until his disagreements with the United States over its invasion of Iraq, had generally improved strained relations with the United States. Annan called for overhauling the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, to make it more representative of the UN's membership and to increase the organization's effectiveness, but he was not able to get member nations to agree to significant changes in the UN's structure. He, along with the United Nations, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.

In 2002–3 Annan worked unsuccessfully to resolve the division of Cyprus, and in the same period his work as secretary-general was made more difficult by strong differences among the permanent members of the Security Council concerning how to handle Iraq's resistance to complying with UN weapons inspections and by the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq that began in 2003. He subsequently publicly emphasized the need for individual nations to support the United Nations and work through it instead of unilaterally and the need for revamping the Security Council.

In 2004 he publicly criticized the U.S. invasion of Iraq as having been illegal. Those comments were seen as contributing to subsequent calls for his resignation by conservative Republicans in the United States because of the United Nations' failure to prevent corruption in the Iraq oil-for-food program; UN staff and Annan's son were implicated as the investigation into the program progressed. Other nations, however, remained strong supporters of Annan. A investigration report on the oil-for-food program cleared Annan of any direct involvement but at the same time criticized him for exercising inadequate oversight. Annan was succeeded as secretary-general by Ban Ki-Moon.

Annan's new job comes six months after his departure from the United Nations, where he served to two five-year terms as secretary-general. While at the UN, Annan often drew attention to the link between Africa's failing agriculture systems and its persistent hunger and poverty. He was chosen to lead the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

the Alliance will be working throughout the continent to strengthen local and regional agricultural markets, help improve irrigation, soil health, and upgrade training for farmers. It will support the development of new seed systems better equipped to cope with the harsh African climate.
It will soon launch an initiative to improve the health of Africa's soils, which are the most depleted in the world.

In 2007, he was was named chairman of the prize committee for the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership.

Mr Annan is continuing to pay a strong role in pan African problems - Accra Daily Mail 29/2/08 Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga have signed an agreement to end the country's post-election crisis. At a ceremony in Nairobi yesterday, the two men put their signatures to a power-sharing deal brokered by ex-UN head Kofi Annan. A coalition government comprising members of the current ruling party and opposition will now be formed.

Last update : 07/08/2008

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