Kofi Annan

Ghana Famous People


Kofi Annan

UN Secretary General

Kofi Annan 333
Date of Birth:
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Kofi Annan was a Ghanaian diplomat and the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations. He served from 1997 to 2006.

EDUCATION - Studied at the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi;

Bachelor's degree in economics from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, 1961; undertook graduate studies in economics at the Institut Universitaire des Hautes Etudes Internationales in Geneva, Switzerland, 1961-1962; master of science degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1972. Sloan Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1971-72. Mfantsipim Senior High School

Career Annan joined the United Nations in 1962 as an administrative and budget officer with the World Health Organization. He went on to serve in offices in New York, Geneva, and Ethiopia. In 1992, he advanced to the U.N.'s high-profile peacekeeping division, where he focused on, among other things, issues in Iraq and Asia. Four years later he was appointed secretary-general.

Nobel Peace Prize (2001)

PERSONAL - Annan has been married to his second wife, Nane Lagergren, a Swedish lawyer and judge, since 1984. Annan has two children, Ama and Kojo from his first marriage to a Nigerian woman that ended in divorce. Lagergren also has a daughter, Nina, from her previous marriage. Annan and Lagergren live in New York.

Detailed Biography

Kofi Atta Annan, current Secretary-General of the United Nations, is a native of Ghana - at the time of his birth, still, a British colony called Gold Coast. He was born on April 8th, 1938 in Kumasi the descendant of a prominent family of paramount chieftains of the Fante people.

His father was a politician - the elected governor of Ashanti province. Annan began his education at a Ghanaian University, then completed a degree in Economics at Macalester College in ST. Paul, Minn. He pursued graduate studies in Geneva at the Institute Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationals. Again in the United States, Annan earned an M.S. in management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

By 1971, Annan had Joined the United Nations. He would spend most of his career in Europe, Africa, and New York. Annan is a consummate insider and lifelong international civil servant in that organization.

His experience includes positions as Assistant Secretary-General for Program Planning, Budget, and Finance, head of human resources and security coordinator, director of the budget, chief of personnel of the High Commission for refugees, and administrative officer for the economic commission for Africa. His background is primarily administrative.

He was named Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations on March 1, 1993. Soon after his appointment, Annan expressed regret and dissatisfaction that the international community did so little to stop the killing in Somalia and the genocide in Rwanda in the winter and spring of 1993 and 1994, respectively. In the peace-keeping post he did, however, take on delicate and complex jobs. He was sent to Iraq to negotiate the release of hostages and the safe transport of half a million Asian workers who had become stranded in that area. As a representative of the U.N. Secretary-General in Bosnia, He deftly negotiated his way among the four contentious outside powers who had intervened in Bosnia - the United States, Britain, France, and Russia.

On the evening of December 13, 1996, Annan was named Secretary-General of the United Nations - the first black African to hold the job.

In the future, Annan will grapple with the problem of gaining support for the United Nations from the organizations skeptics, especially the U.S. Congress.


Kofi Annan was married to Titi Alakija a Nigerian, with whom he had two children, Ama and Kojo. The couple separated in the late 70s and later divorced in 1983. He then married a Swedish lawyer at the UN and a maternal half-niece of diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, Nane Annan who was also a divorcee and had a daughter, Nina from her previous marriage.


He died at the age of 80 in Bern, Switzerland after a short illness on 18 August 2018. On 10 September 2018, his body in a coffin draped in the blue UN flag, was returned to Ghana, accompanied by his wife and children in a ceremony at the Kotoka International Airport.

His body was laid in state in the foyer of the same venue, from 11–12 September 2018. A state funeral was held for Kofi Annan in Ghana at the Accra International Conference Centre on 13 September 2018. A private burial ceremony was also held at the Military Cemetery at Burma Camp, where there were full military honors and the sounding of the Last Post by army buglers and a 17-gun salute.