The Brief: Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, to be Celebrated in State Funeral, Merkel Visits West Africa


Ghana Plans to Hold State Funeral For The Late Kofi Annan

Ghana will hold a state funeral for the late former Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Kofi Annan. According to several sources, President Akufo-Addo stated: “I think the Ghanaian people expect that a man of his stature and record should be given full honours by the state of Ghana, so I have decreed that he should have a state funeral. Kofi Annan was one of the most illustrious people of this generation. He was like an elderly brother. It’s going to be a major event for our country. I expect many leaders to be present,” he added.

Mr Annan served as the seventh secretary general of the UN between 1997 and 2006. During his lifetime, he was an inspirational individual dedicated to upholding humanitarian rights. A Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, he was also Chair of Nelson Mandela’s The Elders, an independent group of international leaders striving for harmony and human rights.

Since his death in Switzerland, many leaders have expressed their respect as well as condolences. Former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, said on Twitter: “He was a good friend whom I saw only weeks ago. Kofi Annan was a great diplomat, a true statesman and a wonderful colleague who was widely respected and will be greatly missed.” Amnesty International’s secretary general, Kumi Naidoo, echoed the positive chain of comments. “Kofi’s dedication and drive for a more peaceful and just world, his lifelong championing of human rights, and the dignity and grace with which he led will be sorely missed in a world which needs these characteristics more than ever,” she said.

Annan was born in Kumasi, a city in the Ashanti region of Ghana on 8th April 1938 and had been part of the UN since 1962. During his career, he assumed various roles served in various functions such as the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, and the UN Emergency Force in Ismailia.

The state funeral is due to take place on 13th September.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel Visits Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel visited three countries in West Africa this week. Accompanied by German CEOs, her trip focussed on economy and migration policies, and the solutions to the reasons behind flight from the region. It is hoped by some in Europe that investment in the region will help remedy mass emigration to Europe.

The tour began in Senegal on Wednesday, where she met with President Macky Sall to discuss the country’s economic growth and partnership, before moving onto Ghana, and finishing in Nigeria, where she was received by President Buhari.

At a briefing after their meeting Buhari said, “I’m against my countrymen and women who illegally find their way to other countries.”

“We do not, as an administration, agree that Nigerians should defy the desert and the Mediterranean because they feel that there are greener pastures over there.”

The Chancellor’s visit to Nigeria followed Theresa May’s visit two days earlier, which saw the UK and Nigeria sign a security pact aimed at helping Nigeria combat Boko Haram through better military training.

May, this week, called for the UK to become the G7’s most prominent investor in Africa by 2020.

11 African Startups Succeed in Google’s Africa Launchpad Accelerator

The second class of Google’s LaunchPad Accelerator, which takes place in Lagos (Nigeria), has accepted 11 startups from six African nations.

Participating in the three-month programme are three West African startups: Nigeria’s Medsaf and Thank U Cash, and Chalkboard Education from Ghana.

Medsaf simplifies the process of trading medication in Nigeria by sourcing them from top local and foreign manufacturers directly. Thank U Cash is a reward system that enables its subscribers to earn points and special promotions, and Chalkboard Education offers an effortless solution for students and teachers. Teachers can share course material and it is accessible to all students.

As a company, Google is dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs and startups, especially in these regions.

According to Fola Olatunji-David, Head of Start-up Success and Services of Launchpad Africa “the growth of entrepreneurship in Africa is critical to the survival of our continent, and we see that a lot of the challenges facing Africans are consistent in most parts. We’re currently as a region creating about three million jobs per year, while more than 11 million job-seekers are entering the market.”

Since graduating in June the first African class of startups have created 132 jobs.