Kofi Annan, who has died aged 80. Joel Saget-AFP-Getty Images
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Ms Vera Songwe, the Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), has joined the United Nations family in mourning the passing of former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.

In a statement issued by ECA’s Communications Section on Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Songwe said she received the news of the passing of the great icon with deepest regret.

“His tireless work and devotion to Africa up to the very last day, as he continued to advocate for peace in Zimbabwe is exactly what leadership should look like on our continent,” she said.

She added that the current Secretary-General, Mr Antonio Guterres, hailed Annan as “a guiding force for good” and a “proud son of Africa who became a global champion for peace and all humanity.”

Annan died at the age of 80 in the early hours of Saturday in Switzerland after a short illness, according to a statement issued by his family.

The globally known diplomat was born in Kumasi, Ghana, on April 8, 1938.

He joined the UN system in 1962 as an administrative and budget officer with the World Health Organisation (WHO), in Geneva.

Annan rose through the ranks, including at the UNECA in Addis Ababa, to hold senior-level posts in areas such as budget and finance, and peacekeeping.

He was the first black UN Secretary-General and served for two consecutive five-year terms, from Jan. 1997 to Dec. 2006.

In 2001, he received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, on the 100th anniversary of the prestigious award.

The prize was awarded to the United Nations and to him, as the organisation’s Secretary-General.

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