Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan will be buried in his native Ghana on Thursday after a state funeral attended by world leaders past and present, traditional rulers and global royalty.
The ceremony at the Accra International Conference Centre, marks the end of three days of national mourning for the respected diplomat.
Annan led the UN from 1997 to 2006 and was the first from sub-Saharan Africa to do so. He died on August 18 aged 80 at his home in Switzerland after a short illness.
The current head of the world body, Antonio Guterres, is expected to attend the funeral, which will be followed by a private burial at the capital’s military ceremony.
The president of neighbouring Ivory Coast and the leaders of Liberia, Namibia, Ethiopia, Niger and Zimbabwe have also confirmed their attendance at Thursday’s obsequies, according to Ghana’s information minister.
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo called the funeral “a major event for our country” and described Annan as “one of the most illustrious people of this generation”.
READ: Kofi Annan’s remains return home
Ordinary Ghanaians and dignitaries have paid their respects to Annan since his coffin was returned from Geneva and received with full honours on Monday.
Thousands of people have filed past the coffin, which was draped in the red, green and gold national flag and guarded by the military in ceremonial uniform.
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga will be among those attending Thursday’s ceremony, his office said.
Others include Princess Beatrix, the former queen of the Netherlands, and her daughter-in-law Princess Mabel, who were close friends of Annan.
Annan is survived by his wife Nane Maria, his children and grandchildren.