AGRA, Rockefeller Foundation remember Kofi Annan
Leaders of the Alliance for A Green Revolution in Africa and the Rockefeller Foundation issued statements over the weekend on the death Saturday of former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Annan, a native of Ghana, was the founding chair of AGRA, an organization funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to modernize agriculture in Africa. He assumed the AGRA post after serving in the U.N,’s top post from 1997 to 2006.
“It is with great sadness that all of us in the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa receive the news of the passing of His Excellency, Kofi Annan,” AGRA said in an email.
“Mr. Annan was a tremendous leader of progress in the world, improving the lives of millions of individuals in Africa and beyond through his work,” thr statement said.
“It is his call for a uniquely African green revolution to ensure that Africa can feed itself that led to AGRA’s creation in 2006 to improve the incomes and livelihoods of Africa’s smallholder farmers. Mr. Annan was the founding chair of AGRA and continued offering leadership and guidance to the institution right up until this year as our board chair emeritus.”
“I am saddened by the death of Kofi Annan, my elder brother and friend,” said Strive Masiyiwa, AGRA board chair. “Africa has lost one if its gallant soldiers.”
“We express our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Nane, his children, and the entire family. Mr. Annan has left a lasting legacy in the quest for a food self-sufficient continent. We will keep his dream and vision alive.”
Rockefeller Foundation President Rajiv Shah, who was the first administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development during the Obama administration, and who worked for the Gates Foundation on agriculture and nutrition, said, “Kofi was an incredible leader, role model, and my friend. He was determined, kind and humble, a true partner to people in need around the world.”
“As a champion for global food security, sustainable development, and human rights, his legacy of service and accomplishment will live on and continue to inspire generations,” Shah said.
“To the Rockefeller Foundation and the Rockefeller family, he was one of our longest and strongest partners. He believed that people could come together to solve the greatest challenges facing humanity. He believed in dialogue with friend or foe alike. He believed in all of us. We will miss him greatly. Our thoughts are with Nane Annan and Kofi’s entire family today.”
In a 2011 speech at a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization conference in Rome, Annan noted that many of his former colleagues were “bemused” when he took up the issue of agriculture after retiring from the U.N.
“I can see why the move from secretary-general to Farmer Kofi was met with smiles. It was perhaps not the obvious choice for me,” he said. But he said the survival of 1 billion people and the need to feed 9 billion people eventually made the challenge and urgency of finding solutions worthwhile.
In the speech entitled “Delivering Global Food and Nutrition Security — The Challenge of Our Time,” he said, “More stable, higher prices can encourage investment and help communities, but only if farmers share in the benefits.”
“So in the long-run, a fair price now can stimulate production to help meet increased demand and hold down prices in the future. But we must do more to protect the vulnerable from dangerous price volatility.”