Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and now Chair of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) speaks at a conference entitled "Toward a
'Green Revolution' in Africa?"
This conference is an Initiative of the Salzburg Global Seminar (www.SalzburgGlobal.org), the Institute of Development Studies (www.ids.ac.uk), and the Future Agricultures Consortium (www.future-agricultures.org).
Against a background of spiralling world food prices, Kofi Annan reminds world leaders that the unfolding world food crisis may roll back the progress that has been achieved by African countries in the last decade. He challenges them to support Africa's own efforts with major new investments to accelerate growth in agriculture and sustain ongoing economic recovery.
"We need to work together to turn things around on this continent," the former UN secretary-general says, telling the assembled experts to "remain engaged, not only in seminars and discussion rooms but action on the ground." He also urges them to "engage with the farmers."
Kofi Annan served as United Nations Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006. During his tenure, Mr. Annan was a resolute advocate for human rights, the rule of law, and the revitalization of the United Nations.
He played a key role in mobilizing a global effort to combat malaria and HIV/AIDS. He was instrumental in laying out the Millennium Development Goals, a strategy to meet the needs of the world's poorest by 2015. On 10th December 2001, Mr. Annan and the United Nations received the Nobel Peace Prize. Born in Ghana in 1938, Mr. Annan pursued postgraduate studies in Minnesota and Geneva, and received a Master's of Science in Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Mr. Annan, a Ghanaian citizen, currently resides in Geneva, Switzerland.
Country, West Africa. Area: 92,098 sq mi (238,533 sq km). Population (2009 est.): 23,832,000. Capital: Accra. Ghana is home to Akan, Mossi, Ewe, and Ga-Adangme peoples. Languages: English (official), Akan, Ewe, Hausa. Religions: Christianity (Protestant, other Christians, Roman Catholic), traditional beliefs, Islam. Currency: cedi. The land is generally flat, dominated by the Volta River basin. The north is characterized by grassland plains; the south is heavily forested. The southern coastal plain is the historical Gold Coast. The varied wildlife includes lions, leopards, and elephants. Ghana has a developing mixed economy based largely on agriculture and mining. Cacao is the mainstay of the economy; mineral exports include gold and diamonds. Ghana is a unitary multiparty republic with one legislative house; its head of state and government is the president. The modern state is named for the ancient Ghana empire that flourished until the 13th century CE in the western Sudan, about 500 mi (800 km) northwest of the modern state. The Akan peoples then founded their first states in modern Ghana. Gold-seeking Mande traders arrived by the 14th century and Hausa merchants by the 16th. During the 15th century the Mande founded the states of Dagomba and Mamprussi in the northern half of the region. The Asante (Ashanti), an Akan people, originated in the central forest region and formed a strongly centralized empire that was at its height in the 18th19th century. European exploration of the region began early in the 15th century, when the Portuguese landed on the Gold Coast; they later established a settlement at Elmina as headquarters for the slave trade. By the mid-18th century the Gold Coast was dominated by numerous forts controlled by Dutch, British, and Danish merchants. Britain made the Gold Coast a crown colony in 1874, and British protectorates over the Asante and the northern territories were established in 1901. In 1957 the Gold Coast became the independent state of Ghana. Since independence several political coups have occurred, but the coup of 1981 produced a government that lasted into the 1990s and made a smooth transition into another administration at the beginning of the 21st century.