In Summary
  • Annan led the UN from 1997 to 2006 and was the first from sub-Saharan Africa to do so. He died on August 18 aged 80 at his home in Switzerland after a short illness.

  • Born in Kumasi, the capital of Ghana's Ashanti region, Annan devoted four decades of his working life to the UN, and was known for bringing quiet charisma to the role.

  • He was widely credited for raising the world body's profile in global politics during his two terms in office, facing challenges including wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

ACCRA,

Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan will be buried in his native Ghana on Thursday after a state funeral attended by world leaders past and present, traditional rulers and global royalty.

The ceremony at the Accra International Conference Centre, which starts at 8:30 am (0830 GMT), marks the end of three days of national mourning for the respected diplomat.

WORLD LEADERS

Annan led the UN from 1997 to 2006 and was the first from sub-Saharan Africa to do so. He died on August 18 aged 80 at his home in Switzerland after a short illness.

The current head of the world body, Antonio Guterres, is expected to attend the funeral, which will be followed by a private burial at the capital's military ceremony.

The president of neighbouring Ivory Coast and the leaders of Liberia, Namibia, Ethiopia, Niger and Zimbabwe have also confirmed their attendance at Thursday's obsequies, according to Ghana's information minister.

Former heads of state from Germany to Mauritius were also flying in.

Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo called the funeral "a major event for our country" and described Annan as "one of the most illustrious people of this generation".

PAID RESPECTS

Ordinary Ghanaians and dignitaries have paid their respects to Annan since his coffin was returned from Geneva and received with full honours on Monday.

Thousands of people have filed past the coffin, which was draped in the red, green and gold national flag and guarded by the military in ceremonial uniform.

One mourner, Fritz Kitcher, who spent his career working in human rights for the UN in Geneva, said he had seen Annan rise through the ranks.

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