Global acclamations in praise of Kofi Annan, the first sub-Saharan African to lead the United Nations, continue to pour in. Annan’s efforts to revitalise the UN, put human rights at the core of the UN, spearhead the global fight against HIV/Aids, revitalise Africa’s agriculture, champion the millennium development goals earned him a Nobel peace prize.
Although the Rwanda genocide tainted his image, he demonstrated that Africans can successfully manage global offices and execute the art of negotiation. Annan warned against the litany of selfish, dangerous, or destructive leaders that have greatly exacerbated the many challenges that independent Africa faced. He said that he was never going to stop being an optimist because if he did, it meant he had given up.
The best tribute we can give him is to shun romanticism, embrace realism and temper optimism with positive action as we strive continuously to improve living standards in Africa and engage with global partners in a win-win manner. The African Executive celebrates his extraordinary accomplishments.