FORMER PRESIDENT John Agyekum Kufuor, currently in Milan, Italy, has accepted two more international appointments with the United Nations World Food Programme and the Milan Expo 2015.
With the UN, he has been offered to serve as Global Ambassador for Hunger for the World Food Programme (WFP). This is according to the WFP executive director, Josette Sheeran, who on behalf of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki- Moon, made this known to the former President in Milan.
On the Milan Expo 2015, Kufuor would serve on its board with the Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, economist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, Mayor of Milan, Madam Letizia Moratti and others.
These offers, according to a joint statement of the Milan City Council and the Africa Office of the Alliance for Africa, came on the heels of former President KufuorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s inauguration as the first president of the Alliance for Africa, an international development organisation which has a seed money of $15million from the Lombardi Regional Government, Milan City Council and the EXPO 2015 and seeks to work in the areas of healthcareÃ‚Â services, education and defence of civil rights and their bearing on economic development.
In his inaugural address last Thursday to policy makers, government representatives, members of the diplomatic corps and financial institutions from Rome and Milan, Mr. Kufuor said international development had gotten to a stage where Africa could not be ignored.
AfricaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s relations with Europe dates to 500 years ago and this, he explained, has not always been in AfricaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s favour as it had been victim of exploitation all the time.
But the new era of globalisation and partnership that Africa seeks with the advanced countries, especially sharing of science and technology, should it be fulfilled, would lead to a mutual benefit for both Africa and the rest of the world.
This was because Africa was not a poor continent as attested to by the demand for its natural resources from the rest of the world. The Alliance for Africa which would operate its continental office from Accra, he said, was born out of this spirit of partnership between Africa and Europe.
The President of the Lombardi Regional Government, Formigoni gave a policy position on Africa that with the formal signing of the Alliance, a statement has been made that Africa would be vital for this centuryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s development and that Europe should use its past relationship with it to be at the forefront of this engagement. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is impossible to neglect Africa and we do so at our own risk.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Mayor of Milan, Letizia Moratti, was happy to see the launch of the Foundation a year after she first had discussions with Kufuor.
It was at the evening of the launch concert, however, that the former president had his string of tributes and good wishes from among others, international artistes who performed in his honour.
Celebrated Irish star and actor, Bob Geldof of Live Aid fame told the 2,000 filled theatre and concert hall that Africa was not always a bad case and that those who point to Zimbabwe all the time should look at Ghana; those who point to Mugabe should Ã¢â‚¬Å“look at John Kufuor who has given us a model of an African democratic leadershipÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Geldof who has also promised his support for the Alliance for Africa asked the Italian government to do more for Africa and use its chair of the EU to AfricaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s benefit.
The string of international musicians included GhanaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Amandzeba. The star of the night was however the royal maestro from Mali and descendant of Emperor Sundiata Keita, the afro-pop singer, Salif Keita.
He told the audience that Africa should be proud of Kufuor, amidst applause from audience which included football star Sulley Muntari.
It was KeitaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s music which set the audience dancing post-midnight into the early hours of February 6.
Former President Kufuor has since left Milan to London on his way to Ghana