“We should all be thankful that so many people are prepared to take great risks for the cause of peace,” he told the audience in Ghana’s capital, Accra, on the second anniversary of the fatal terrorist attack on UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq. The awarding of the MEAs is a national event held every five years to honour Ghanaian men and women who have excelled in advancing such causes as peace, gender balance, agriculture, education and science, rural development, and industrial development. The awards are given by Ghana’s Excellence Awards Foundation, a private institution established in 1999. In answer to questions from leading Ghanaian media figure Kojo Yankah, Mr. Annan said: “When I heard you list all the crisis areas that we deal with, one wonders if there is any hope or any promise.” But he added: “I believe there are lots of positive things also happening in the world, particularly on the economic front. We are out to fight poverty. We are out to reduce the number of people living in abject poverty by 50 per cent by 2015, ensure everyone has clean water, boys and girls are in school.” He said he wanted to see an African agricultural revival. “We need to take agriculture seriously. I would love to see the day when Africa can at least feed itself. I saw the lady who won the Agricultural Award. I was very impressed by her and I hope we will have many more like her so that in future we will be able to tackle our economic development very seriously.” Mr. Annan noted that at the 2003 Monterrey Conference on financing for development, the developing countries were to improve governance, create transparent government, fight corruption and the donor community of rich countries was to increase development assistance, offer debt relief and collaborate on trade reform. “When you look at the proposals before the United Nations this year for reform, we are making progress,” he said, adding: “So there is hope, all is not hopeless.” Eighteen African countries have been given debt relief, official development assistance (ODA) will increase by $25 billion and officials are working on getting an additional $50 billion, he said. In August 2002, Mr. Annan received the Ashanti title of Busumuru, “Son of the Sword” or “wise and most respected adviser” for his service to humanity, the first non-royal person in Ghana to do so. His father was part-Ashanti. In 2001 in Sierra Leone, he received another high traditional title, equivalent to “great warrior,” in recognition of his work.