KOFI ANNAN, CHIEF OBASANJO:TALE OF TWO GLOBAL ICONS SETTING THE PACE FOR AFRICA

Launches 2014 Africa Progress Report Grain, Fish, Money
The stage was indeed set and it was most grandeur  ,when the Africa Progress Panel  released its annual Africa Progress Report - Grain, Fish, Money Financing Africas Green and Blue revolutions, at the World Economic Forum on Africa held in Abuja, Nigeria.

Chaired by former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, last years report Equity in Extractive Stewarding Africas Natural Resources for all, made headlines with its analysis of the oil, gas, and minerals industries in Africa.
This years report went far to argue that Africa can and must unleash green and blue revolutions in its agriculture and fisheries. It will highlight the opportunities for Africa of the worlds growing demand for food and the critical importance of agriculture and fisheries for two thirds of people in Africa engaged in these sectors. The report  also recommended related policies, including policies to scale-up Africas infrastructure and extend its financial services. The report  also outlined the urgent need to stop the plunder of Africas timber and fisheries.
The following Panel Members and Members of the Secretariat all attended the
WEF on Africa to outline findings shared in the report.
 
Kofi Annan, Chair, Africa Progress Panel, and former UN Secretary-General,
Olusegun Obasanjo, Member, Africa Progress Panel, and former President of Nigeria;  Peter Eigen, Member, Africa Progress Panel, Founder of Transparency International, and Founding Chair and Special Representative of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI); Bob Geldof, Member, Africa Progress Panel, Musician, Businessman, Founder and Chair of Band Aid, Live Aid and live8, Co-Founder of DATA and ONE Advisor and Advocate; Caroline Kende-Robb, Executive Director, Africa Progress Panel as well as Max Bankole Jarrett, Deputy Executive Director, Africa Progress Panel
 
The  ten-member Africa Progress Panel advocates at the highest levels for equitable and sustainable development in Africa. The Panel releases its flagship publication, the Africa Progress Report, every year in May.
 
FACTS ABOUT ANNAN/OBASANJO

* Kofi Annan - Biographical

Kofi A. Annan of Ghana, the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, is the first to be elected from the ranks of UN staff. His first five-year term began on 1 January 1997 and, following his subsequent re-appointment by the UN Member States, he will begin a second five-year term on 1 January 2002.
As Secretary-General, Mr. Annan has given priority to revitalizing the UN through a comprehensive programme of reform; strengthening the Organization's traditional work in the areas of development and the maintenance of international peace and security; advocating human rights, the rule of law and the universal values of equality, tolerance and human dignity; restoring public confidence in the Organization by reaching out to new partners and, in his words, by "bringing the United Nations closer to the people". The Secretary-General has also taken a leading role in mobilizing the international community in the battle against HIV/AIDS, and more recently against the global terrorist threat.
Born in Kumasi, Ghana, on 8 April 1938, Mr. Annan studied at the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi and completed his undergraduate work in economics at Macalester College in the United States in 1961. From 1961 to 1962, he undertook graduate studies in economics at the Institut universitaire des hautes études internationales in Geneva. As a 1971- 1972 Sloan Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mr. Annan received a Master of Science degree in management.
Mr. Annan joined the UN in 1962, working for the World Health Organization in Geneva, where he later also served with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. At UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Annan held senior positions in a diverse range of areas, including human resources management (1987-1990), budget and finance (1990-1992), and peacekeeping (March 1992-December 1996). He was Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping at a time when nearly 70,000 military and civilian personnel were deployed in UN operations around the world.
Before becoming Secretary-General, Mr. Annan received a number of special assignments. In 1990, he facilitated the repatriation of international staff and citizens of Western countries from Iraq after it invaded Kuwait. He subsequently led initial negotiations with Baghdad on the sale of oil to fund humanitarian relief. From November 1995 to March 1996, Mr. Annan served as the Secretary-General's Special Representative to the former Yugoslavia. As Secretary-General, Mr. Annan has used his good offices in several delicate political situations, including an attempt in 1998 to gain Iraq's compliance with Security Council resolutions, as well as a mission that year to promote the transition to civilian rule in Nigeria. In 1999, he helped to resolve the stalemate between Libya and the Security Council, and to forge an international response to violence in East Timor. In 2000, he certified Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon. Since the renewed outbreak of violence in the Middle East in September 2000, he has worked to encourage Israelis and Palestinians to resolve their differences through negotiations based on Security Council resolutions and the principle of "land for peace".
The Secretary-General has strengthened partnerships with civil society, the private sector and others outside of government whose strengths complement those of the UN. He has called for a "Global Compact" to encourage businesses to respect standards relating to the environment, employment laws and human rights. In April, 2000, he issued a report on the UN's role in the 21st century, outlining actions needed to end poverty and inequality, improve education, cut HIV/AIDS, safeguard the environment and protect peoples from violence. The report formed the basis of the Millennium Declarations adopted by national leaders attending the UN Millennium Summit that September.
Calling the HIV/AIDS epidemic his "personal priority", the Secretary- General issued a "Call to Action" in April, 2001, proposing the establishment of a Global AIDS and Health Fund, which has since received some $ 1.5 billion in pledges and contributions.
Since the terrorist attacks hit the United States on 11 September 2001, the Secretary-General has played a leading role in galvanizing global action through the General Assembly and the Security Council to combat terrorism. The Secretary-General has received honorary degrees from universities in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, as well as a number of other prizes and awards for his contributions to the aims and purposes of the United Nations.
The Secretary-General is fluent in English, French and several African languages. He is married to Nane Annan, of Sweden, a lawyer and painter who has a great interest in understanding the work of the United Nations in the field. Two issues of particular concern to her are HIV/AIDS and education for women. She has also written a book for children about the United Nations. The Annans have three children.
From Les Prix Nobel. The Nobel Prizes 2001, Editor Tore Frängsmyr, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 2002
This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and later published in the book series Les Prix Nobel/Nobel Lectures/The Nobel Prizes. The information is sometimes updated with an addendum submitted by the La

EX-President Obasanjo Biography's fact File

Olusegun Obasanjo served as President of Nigeria from May 1999 to May 2007. It was the culmination of a life spent on the front line of African politics. In 2008 he was appointed by the United Nations as a special envoy for Africa and has since overseen democratic elections on behalf of the African Union and Ecowas in countries across the continent. He has since emerged as an advocate for investment into the country and with the launch of his Foundation will tackle issues critical to advance across the Continent.
Obasanjo became President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1999, following the demise of the military dictatorship of General Sani Abacha. After fifteen years of repressive rule that saw Nigeria slip into pariah status internationally, Obasanjo quickly emerged as the front-runner to lead the country’s historic transition back to democracy. He had suffered firsthand the brutality of the Abacha regime, having been imprisoned in 1995 on fabricated charges of plotting a coup to depose him.
Leadership was first thrust upon him in 13th February 1976 when he narrowly escaped an assassination attempt that killed Nigeria’s military ruler, Murtala Mohammed. As deputy he took over as head of state and vowed to restore civilian rule once the conditions for democracy were established. True to his word he gave way to Shehu Shagari , the winner of elections held in 1979, to date the only voluntary handover from military to civilian rule in Nigerian history.
Obasanjo’s elected term in office was characterized by a commitment to the rule of law, economic and political reform. He worked to rebuild institutions wrecked by decades of neglect, repression and mismanagement. This included the appointment of key, reform minded technocrats such as the finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and education minister Obiageli Ezekwesili – both internationally respected leaders in their fields.
Selecting Charles Soludo as Governor of the Central Bank paved the way for consolidation in the country’s banking sector, transforming it into one of the most dynamic industries on the continent. Liberalisation of the telecommunications sector has allowed Nigeria to become Africa’s largest and fastest growing markets for ICTs.
He created the country’s first Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which secured in excess of 275 convictions, including high profile members of Nigeria’s elite, recovering a total of $5bn in assets. This was the first time in the country’s history that public officials were prosecuted for the misuse of state funds.
With high oil prices, Obasanjo’s government oversaw a doubling of Nigeria’s average economic growth rate to 6 per cent.Foreign reserves rose from $3.7 billion in 1999 to $45 billion in 2007. Sound economic stewardship helped Obasanjo secure $18 billion in debt relief from Western creditors and his government used burgeoning state revenues to pay down a further $12 billion in dues leaving Nigeria almost debt free.
He is also a role model for the youth of Africa. He established the African Leadership Forum, which organises workshops advocating African solutions to African problems through better leadership, state capacity building and the encouragement of private enterprise. The Presidential Library complex he is building in his home town of Abeokuta will be the first of its kind in Africa – an enduring testament to his leadership, and a model for the rest of the continent.
Outside of Nigeria he has been central in the regeneration and repositioning of the African Union. Together with former South African president Thabo Mbeki he lead the creation of the African Peer Review Mechanism designed to engender and promote the ideals of democracy and good governance, and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.
After serving his country for eight years and restoring the respect of its continental peers and the international community, Obasanjo stepped down in 2007. His role as Africa’s ambassador-at-large has continued..
In 2008 he was appointed special Envoy on the Great Lakes region by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and continues to be an integral actor in mediation efforts in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Obasanjo has also served as the African Union’s Special Envoy for Togo’s 2010 Presidential elections, as well as South Africa’s presidential polls in 2009.
As the Special Envoy for ECOWAS, his role in diffusing the crisis that threatened civil war in Cote D’Ivoire 2011 was vital. When democracy was once again threatened in Senegal during controversial presidential polls in March 2012, he promptly led the joint African Union and Ecowas mission to resolve the standoff, paving the way for a smooth transition and pulling one of Africa’s oldest democracies back from the brink.
Outside the political arena Obasanjo has been a catalyst in driving Africa’s economic transformation. The region is now amongst the fastest growing in the world, rapidly becoming the destination of choice for international investors looking to emerging and frontier markets. Using his experience as a successful farmer and businessman in Nigeria he is actively engaging this community to facilitate more investment into the continent. Obasanjo will achieve this vision through the Africa Investment Council (AIC) a platform of distinguished leaders working to provide advocacy, thought-leadership, collaboration and best-practices on sustainable investment into Africa. He is presently an advisor to New World Capital; an investment advisory firm providing interested parties with market access, investment advisory and co-investment opportunities across the continent.
President Obasanjo is also Founder of the Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation, a UK based charity that has a mission of advancing Human Security for All. The Foundation has wide ranging initiatives of Feeding Africa, Youth Empowerment, Education for Girls and a health initiative focused on non-communicable and water borne diseases.
Along with Kofi Annan, he is also a key member of the Africa Progress Panel
As Africa assumes an increasingly central role in international policy and business the continent will continue to have an unwavering advocate in Obasanjo.
 
 



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