See also:
» 18.03.2011 - Africa defies AU chief's support for Ghaddafi
» 11.03.2011 - African Union praises Ghaddafi "reform offer"
» 09.02.2011 - SA to represent Africa at emerging markets
» 08.12.2010 - Africa, Europe set out cooperation priorities
» 12.10.2010 - "Bullying China a threat to Africa"
» 09.10.2010 - Africa silent on Liu Xiaobo
» 10.06.2010 - 20 African leaders arrive SA for World Cup
» 28.01.2010 - Underdevelopment pose serious threat to Africa, Ban

China wholesale online through

Houlihan's coupons

Finn autentiske matoppskrifter fra hele verden på
Gazpacho Børek Kartoffelsalat Taboulé Gulasj Albóndigas Cevapi Rougaille Japrak sarma Zwiebelbrot Klopse Giouvetsi Paella Pljeskavica Pica pau Pulpo a la gallega Flammkuchen Langosj Tapenade Chatsjapuri Pasulj Lassi Kartoffelpuffer Tortilla Raznjici Knödel Lentejas Bœuf bourguignon Korianderchutney Brenneslesuppe Proia Sæbsi kavurma Sardinske calamares

Autentiske matoppskrifter fra hele verden finner du på
Réunion Portugal Aserbajdsjan Serbia Tyskland Seychellene Bosnia Spania Libanon Belgia India Kroatia Hellas Italia Ungarn Komorene Georgia Mauritius Østerrike Romania Frankrike

Africa | Ghana
Politics | Society

With Annan, Africa loses its first UN chief

Outgoing UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
«The world accepted Africa as a hopeless region.

© afrol / Frédéric de La Mure / Gouvt. française
afrol News, 15 December
- As the UN's General Assembly today swore in Ban Ki-moon as the 8th United Nations Secretary-General, sub-Saharan Africa's and Ghana's first-ever 10-year leader of the world body is praised for his great efforts to move the African continent forward. Kofi Annan put African development on the world's agenda like no other leader, but also failed to show strength at many important crossroads.

Mr Ban today outlined his priorities when he is to take over Mr Annan's office on 1 January. His foremost aim was to "restore trust" in the UN and among UN members. But the new UN chief also revealed geographical preferences when meeting the press after his inauguration ceremony. The Middle East was singled out as a priority, and on other regions, Mr Ban especially mentioned ongoing conflicts such as Darfur, while signalling a stronger attachment to US foreign policy aims.

Outgoing UN leader Annan, on the other hand, had made his major focus the eradication of poverty. While poverty always was the centre of Mr Annan's thoughts, he saw the important issues of peace, health and environment in that perspective. And it was a very much African perspective, something the UN Secretary-General never tried to hide.

During Mr Annan's ten years at the UN's steering wheel, the world body therefore has been very engaged in helping African and other nations to end their conflicts, assure peace and democracy, fight epidemics, secure a good environment and find donors to fund development - all in a perspective of fighting poverty. Mr Ban, at a first glimpse, signals he will focus more on preventing and mediating conflicts - for the sake of peace alone.

But what has Mr Annan achieved for Africa during his chieftaincy? The biggest victories have been ending the great regional wars in the Great Lakes and in West Africa, bringing in one record-large UN peacekeeping mission after another to secure peace in Sierra Leone, Congo Kinshasa, Liberia and Burundi.

It needed the firm dedication of Mr Annan to be able to send such expensive and effective missions to Africa - a region that previously always had been ignored when it came to peace-building. Mr Annan did not accept that only political hotbeds with great media attention in donor nations - as the Middle East, Korea and Cyprus - should be granted effective peace-building, while the world accepted Africa as a "hopeless" region where one had to expect wars anyhow.

His insistence on taking African conflicts seriously - even if they were without the greatest impact on global security or trade - was not an easy task. The sending of enormous troop contingents to Sierra Leone came in the aftermath of the disastrous UN-US intervention in Somalia - which had crippled Western interest in getting militarily involved in Africa - and the UN's greatest failure ever; preventing the Rwanda 1994 genocide.

The Rwanda genocide also marked Mr Annan strongly. While he was not yet UN Secretary-General, he was in a position at the UN where he should have done more and done it faster. Many observers have seen Mr Annan trying to make up for this fatal 1994 error by fighting strongly for effective UN peace missions in other African countries.

But Mr Annan's greatest failures are also related to African conflicts. The conflicts in Darfur and Western Sahara demonstrated his inability to show strength and his poor power base. Outside Africa, the Iraq war proved this even stronger.

The Ghanaian, without the backing of any powerful home country, during his ten years in New York mostly was held as a hostage of US foreign policy interests and - less often - of other great powers. In Darfur, Mr Annan became too attached to the Washington administration's radical approach to Sudan, leaving him without confidence in Khartoum. In Western Sahara, Mr Annan was willing to disregard UN resolutions and international law by letting the stronger part - Morocco - setting the agenda. As a US-supported initiative led by James Baker gave up on the conflict, Mr Annan also lost his interest.

But Mr Annan has done much more for Africa than trying to resolve conflicts. Fighting poverty being his top agenda, the outgoing UN Secretary-General will always be remembered for his Millennium Summit, which reached a decision to halve poverty in the world by 2015, halt the spread of AIDS and provide universal primary education. The UN's Millennium Development Goals have "galvanised unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest," in Mr Annan's words.

The other prime mark Mr Annan has set of African history is the war he has declared on the AIDS pandemic. He has dedicated himself to establish a global multi-million dollar fund to fight AIDS and tuberculosis in Africa and has made uncountable appeals to donors to finance his crusade against the disease and affordable AIDS drugs. Due to his work, AIDS awareness has risen sharply in Africa and awareness of Africa's AIDS crisis has risen throughout the world.

Mr Annan's greatest legacy therefore has been to put African issues on the world agenda, despite an initial disinterest among other, more powerful regions. His other main legacy - the strengthening of the UN's position on world policies - may assure that African issues stay on the world agenda while the UN will have to wait decades for another African chief.

Mr Annan therefore will be remembered as one of Africa's great sons. Happy retirement, Mr Annan!

- Create an e-mail alert for Africa news
- Create an e-mail alert for Ghana news
- Create an e-mail alert for Politics news
- Create an e-mail alert for Society news

    Printable version

On the Afrol News front page now

Rwanda succeeds including citizens in formal financial sector

afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.

Famine warning: "South Sudan is imploding"

afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
Panic in West Africa after Ebola outbreak in Guinea

afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
Ethiopia tightens its already strict anti-gay laws

afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
Ethiopia plans Africa's biggest dam

afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.

front page | news | countries | archive | currencies | news alerts login | about afrol News | contact | advertise | español 

©  afrol News. Reproducing or buying afrol News' articles.

   You can contact us at