In 1997, Kofi Annan became the first United Nations (UN) Secretary-General to be appointed from within the organization and the second UN Secretary-General of African heritage. His ten-year tenure left a legacy that fundamentally, development and security can only thrive where the rule of law and the respect for human rights exist. In 2001, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the UN and Kofi Annan for “their work for a better organized and more peaceful world”. Shortly after his tenure ended, Annan founded the Kofi Annan Foundation in 2007 to continue his work towards a fairer, more peaceful and developed world.
The Kofi Annan Foundation seeks to achieve its mission by rallying political support to identify and deliver solutions that will end social, political, and economic global issues. The Foundation is not a grantmaking foundation. Rather, its approach brings together the private sector, government and civil society in order to dialogue and find ways to impact its seven thematic areas: Mediation and crisis resolution, Building lasting peace, Supporting democracy and elections with integrity, Combating hunger, Changing drug policy, Promoting youth leadership, and Partnership and resource mobilization.
In 2016, several senior public figures from around the world joined the Foundation’s Electoral Integrity Initiative (EII) to contribute towards strengthening the legitimacy of electoral processes and avoiding election-related violence worldwide. The EII was formed to address the causes of electoral instability identified by the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy, and Security 2012 report and continues to guide selected countries towards credible and peaceful elections. In the run-up to the 2015 elections in Nigeria, the EII brokered an agreement, known as the Abuja Accord, which facilitated the peaceful transition of power between the incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan and his leading rival, Muhammadu Buhari.
The Foundation convenes the African Food Systems Initiative to galvanize support towards turning Africa’s smallholder farmers into agricultural power houses that will eventually curb under-nutrition, end poverty and build a more equitable world. The Initiative was formed on the premise of Africa’s unmet agricultural potential as the continent is home to 60 percent of the world’s uncultivated arable land yet 14 million children are acutely malnourished. The Initiative mobilizes companies, political leaders and civil society to advance food and nutrition security across Africa.
In the wake of terrorism in Africa and the Middle East, the Foundation partnered with ten young counter extremism experts to produce a guide against extremism for young people. The Extremely Together initative brings young people from around the world to campaign against violent extremism. According to Kofi Annan, “Youth have been at the receiving end of the problems my generation unloaded onto them. Wars, inequality, and climate change, are all drivers for violent extremism but there are barely any young people at the negotiating tables. My Foundation started this initiative because we thought that it was time to start talking to rather than about young people and I hope that they will inspire their peers to join this this movement.”
The Foundation is supported by both public and private donors including the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Tony Elumelu Foundation and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. To learn more about the Foundation’s programmes or contribute towards making the world a better place through the organization, visit the Kofi Annan Foundation’s website.