In 2011 the award was shared equally between Kofi Annan from Ghana and Sue Edwards and The Tigray Project from Ethiopia.
Kofi Annan was a Ghanaian diplomat born in 1938, and former Secretary-General of the United Nations during 1997-2006. He used his stature, leadership, and network to become a positive force in Africa’s development, focusing on the importance of agriculture in this process. Annan acted as a bridge between Western capital and knowledgeable, good local initiatives in Africa. In the same spirit, he fought relentlessly throughout his life to end poverty and promote a global sustainable future, and has inspired many people.
An example of this is his strong engagement for a “green revolution” on Africa’s own terms which, among other things, has been critical in the development of AGRA. In a short time, this organization took a leading role in the work to materialize the vision of an Africa with a better standard of living and a food supply chain that functions well. Since 2006 AGRA has successfully launched a broad, systematic process to create the basis for economic development starting with small-scale farming, which is usually run by women and involves many people.
Moreover, he was together with the UN the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 and the founder and chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation.
The theme for the 2011 Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development is "Sustainable food supply". Cultivated land is essential to the development of society, but competition for land to cultivate is becoming much more intense. The need for food is expected to grow by some 70 percent by 2050, and there are already a billion undernourished people on the planet today. Africa is the continent with the most challenging conditions, where the soil has been depleted and productivity in farming is low. At the same time, some good examples are showing it's possible to change this trend by increasing productivity through ecological and sustainably social and financial means which can make agriculture the motor behind development in society.
This year's prize of one million Swedish kronor is awarded to the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, who has become a leader of Africa's green revolution and the Tigray Project, which is an excellent example of local initiative in Ethiopia – both of which visualize successful and promising efforts against poverty and for a sustainable food supply.