Annan will continue welfare work in Africa

ADDIS ABABA - UN secretary-general Kofi Annan pledged yesterday to work to improve welfare in Africa, the world's poorest continent, after he retires from his UN position later this year.

ADDIS ABABA - UN secretary-general Kofi Annan pledged yesterday to work to improve welfare in Africa, the world's poorest continent, after he retires from his UN position later this year.

On his last tours in Africa as the world body's chief, Annan told participants at the fifth African Development Forum in the Ethiopian capital that his farewell was "not an adieu, but very much an au revoir".

"The time has come for me, in my UN capacity, to bid you farewell," he said.

"But as I lay down my global responsibilities, I can promise to devote myself more than ever to the welfare of this beloved continent," said Annan, who is a Ghanaian.

He lauded achievements made by the world body that he said had hoisted development aid above the $100-billion mark.

"Today, thanks largely to the vision and political will that emerged from four UN summits over the past six years, ODA [Overseas Development Aid] is breaking through the $100-billion barrier," Annan said.

He is later expected to hold high-level talks with African Union leaders at the pan-African bloc's Addis Ababa headquarters to seek solutions on the crisis in Sudan's war-torn western Darfur region.

He is due to retire from the helm of the world body next month after serving as the world's top diplomat for 10 years.

He will be replaced by South Korea's Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon. - Sapa-AFP

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