Accra, Ghana, 2 September 2010 – Former UN Secretary-General Mr Kofi A Annan was awarded the Borlaug Medallion by the World Food Prize Foundation today in recognition of his global leadership and commitment to improving food security in Africa.
Annan, who is chairman of the board for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), received the award from the World Food Prize Foundation President, Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, at the first-ever African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Accra.
“It is a great honor to receive this award in my home country Ghana. We are making great strides in putting farmers and agriculture at the center of our development,” said Mr Annan. “Public and private partners working closely together to transform Africa’s agriculture to benefit smallholder farmers and increase food security and nutrition in Ghana and across the continent.”
“We have left farmers to sink or swim without help for far too long,” he said. “After decades of neglect, agriculture has returned to the development agenda. Now it is time to bring together the many players – from farmers to CEOs – to achieve rapid, large-scale results that will put an end to hunger and poverty.”
The presentation took place in the main plenary hall at the AGRF in the Accra International Conference Centre, Ghana.
It is followed on Friday by an AGRF session celebrating the achievements of Dr Norman Borlaug and looking at the progress of the Green Revolution for Africa. Borlaug received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for the impact of his agricultural innovations that are credited with saving over a billion people from famine in Asia and Latin America.
Speaking at the session on Friday 3 September are: H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, Gebisa Ejeta, World Food Prize Laureate 2009 and Professor of Agronomy at Purdue University and Monty Jones, Executive Secretary of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa. The panel is moderated by Ambassador Quinn.
“Over the past decade, no one has done more than Kofi Annan to bring attention to the critical issue of global food security and nutrition around the world nor in fulfilling Norman Borlaug’s dream of bringing the Green Revolution to Africa,” said Ambassador Quinn.
As UN Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006, Mr Annan was instrumental in laying out the Millennium Development Goals, a strategy to meet the needs of the world’s poorest by 2015. One of the eight identified goals is to “eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.” The UN hopes to “halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.” In 2001, Mr Annan and the United Nations received the Nobel Peace Prize.
Mr Annan is the chair of AGRF and the chairman of the board of AGRA, one of AGRF’s strategic partners. AGRA works to achieve a food secure and prosperous Africa through the promotion of rapid, sustainable agricultural growth based on smallholder farmers.
The World Food Prize was founded nearly 25 years ago by Norman Borlaug to recognize and encourage achievements around the globe in food and agriculture. It is awarded annually. For more information: www.worldfoodprize.org.
The Norman E. Borlaug Medallion was created to recognize world leaders whose actions have benefited mankind but who would not normally be considered for the World Food Prize, which is primarily awarded to science, policy, and development experts for a specific, exceptionally significant, individual achievement along the full range of the food production and distribution chain. The Norman E. Borlaug Medallion has only been awarded to two other people: Yohei Sasakawa and the Nippon Foundation of Japan earlier this year, and His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand in 2007.