AfricanPod Business Reflections on 2019
One of the outstanding intimate conversations on AfricanPod in 2019 was with Kojo Annan, the son of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Born in Geneva, Switzerland, Kojo has rich pan-African family heritage from Ghana and Nigeria with a global outlook.
He is an outstanding businessman, a serial Entrepreneur and Investor, unlike his father
who devoted his life to public service on the global stage.
In many ways, though, Kojo will always walk in his father’s giant footsteps. It is a realisation both Kojo and his father recognised a long time ago.
Talking about his late father, Kojo said “Of course, he is a world renowned statesman and diplomat who achieved so much… but first and foremost, to me, he is my dad, the same way your father was to you and the same way you are to your children.”
I interviewed Kojo in Perth in September 2019 when he visited the city as the keynote speaker for the Africa-Australia Week at the invitation of Murdoch University. It was his first visit to Australia where he says he met “Ghanaians, Nigerians, Sudanese, Kenyans, Zambians – a broad range of Africans in the diaspora.”
“Whether you like it or not, many people will look at you through your father Kofi Annan’s achievements,” I asserted in the interview, inviting Kojo’s response.
The younger Mr Annan didn’t flinch when he said “my father was always encouraging all of us – me and my sisters to be independent, to take our own journey. From a young age I was always entrepreneurial and business minded. We feel comfortable in who we are and where we are going” while treasuring he precious memories of one of the great men of the 20th century.
There have been incredible public moments with my father “such as when he got the Nobel Peace Prize, standing on the balcony with him in Oslo, waving to tens of thousands of people who braved the freezing conditions just to share the love, respect and admiration. There are countless memories with him at the UN General Assembly, meeting different world leaders, Kings and Queens from around the world, going to World Cup finals with him. And then of course there were precious family moments like my father being in the hospital with me when my two sons were born and him standing by my side with my wife, so many childhood memories with me and my sisters and my Mum.”
The conversation with Kojo Annan with the vivid memories of his father on side made this interview unforgettable. You can listen to the interview here in audio or watch in video on YouTube.
Among other business interests, Kojo Annan is the founder of Africa10, an organisation that promotes social and grassroots development of young people through the transformative power of sport.