A statue of Ghana's first president, Kwame Nkrumah, was unveiled in the grounds of the new African Union (AU) building in Addis Ababa on 29 January, ahead of the summit of Heads of State and Government of the AU on 30 January.

Performing the unveiling ceremony were Ghana's current president John Evans Atta Mills and the outgoing AU chairman Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, president of Equatorial Guinea since 1979.

The statue was commissioned by the leaders of the AU in recognition of the leading role played by Nkrumah in the African liberation struggle. Nkrumah was a founding member of the Organisation of African Unity, now the AU, as well as an influential advocate of Pan Africanism.

Born in 1909, Nkrumah succeeded the Fifth Earl of Listowel, the last Governor-General of Ghana. He oversaw the nation's independence from British colonial rule in 1960 when Ghana became a republic and he became its president.

In February 1966, while on a state visit to North Vietnam and China, Nkrumah was overthrown in a military coup led by Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka and the National Liberation Council. Nkrumah never returned to Ghana, and lived in exile in Guinea until his death in 1977 in Bucharest, Romania, where he had flown to receive medical attention.

The 3.5-m high bronze statue contains the inscription: