Annan’s passing casts shadow across Africa


Former Secretary-General of the United Nations and Noble Peace Prize Laureate, Kofi A. Annan, sadly passed away over the weekend, leaving behind a global legacy.

Annan was a staunch advocate of the African Development Bank’s ‘New Deal on Energy for Africa’, a partnership-driven effort which aims to achieve universal access to energy in Africa by 2025.

He was appointed as the ‘Champion’ of the New Deal on Energy for Africa. In 2016, 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.

Writing for CNN last year, Annan said: “Africa’s energy needs are not only huge, but they are also urgent. Day after day, the continent’s lack of modern energy is holding back economic growth, job creation, sustainable agriculture, health and education.

“The challenge for governments, their development partners and the private sector is how to electrify millions of African households, remote communities and small-scale entrepreneurs as quickly as possible. To meet that challenge, countries need to consider every available option, including off-grid household systems and mini-grids, as well as the expansion of national grids.”

Annan continued: “African governments need to support the development of an enabling environment through which companies can enter energy generation, transmission and distribution markets, climb the value chain and build the investment partnerships that can drive growth and create jobs.

“To tap the potential of new energy technologies, African governments need all the support they can get. Bilateral and multilateral donors have pledged billions of dollars to Africa’s energy transition, but little of that money is moving yet. Donors need to realize that Africa’s energy imperative is urgent.”

Annan spearheaded several initiatives on Africa, and was chairman of the Africa Progress Panel and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

The African Development Bank has expressed its sadness at the news: “With Mr Kofi Annan’s passing, Africa and the entire world has lost its finest diplomat, champion of world peace and development advocate, leaving a void, which will be hard to fill,” Adesina said.

“Today, the international community is mourning a man of great humility and righteousness; a formidable architect behind critical peace brokering agreements around the world. His leadership on spearheading the Millennium Development Goals made poverty eradication an achievable global imperative. He touched the lives of everyone he met with his dignity and quiet resolve. We stand with his dear wife, Nane, family and friends at this time and express our heartfelt condolences,” he added.

In April 2001 at a summit of African leaders, 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.

Kofi Annan was Africa’s global icon. He will be greatly missed.

 Read more: Africa Progress Panel ceases activities from 2018