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Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General dies aged 80

Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan has died aged 80, the Kofi Annan Foundation announced. He “passed away peacefully on Saturday after a short illness”, the Foundation said.

Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan has died aged 80, the Kofi Annan Foundation announced.

He “passed away peacefully on Saturday after a short illness”, the foundation said.

“It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan  Foundation announce that Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the  United Nations and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on  Saturday 18th August after a short illness,” the Kofi Annan Foundation said on Twitter.

“His wife Nane and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina were by his side during his last days,” said the statement.

“Kofi Annan was a global statesman and a deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world. During his distinguished career and leadership of the United Nations he was an ardent champion of peace, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law.

“After stepping down from the United Nations, he continued to work tirelessly in the cause of peace through his chairmanship of the Kofi Annan Foundation and as chair of The Elders, the group founded by Nelson Mandela. He was an inspiration to young and old alike.

“Kofi Annan was a son of Ghana and felt a special responsibility towards Africa. He was particularly committed to African development and deeply engaged in many initiatives, including his chairmanship of the Africa Progress Panel and his early leadership of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

“Wherever there was suffering or need, he reached out and touched many people with his deep compassion and empathy. He selflessly placed others first, radiating genuine kindness, warmth and brilliance in all he did. He will be greatly missed by so many around the world, as well as his staff at the Foundation and his many former colleagues in the United Nations system. He will remain in our hearts forever,” the statement said.

Diplomat and humanitarian par excellence

In 1996, the United Nations Security Council elected Ghanaian Kofi Annan as the 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Ghanaian diplomat Annan served until 2006.

He was one of the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize and the founder of the Kofi Annan Foundation.

He was also the chairperson of the elders, an international non-governmental organisation of public figures noted as elder statesmen, peace activists, and human rights advocates converged by Nelson Mandela in 2007.

Annan was vocal on governance issues across Africa,  and was critical of African leaders who refused to leave office after serving their mandated constitutional terms.

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