Ghanaians gather to mourn former UN chief Kofi Annan

ACCRA, Ghana (AP) — Ghanaians are paying their respects to former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan ahead of Thursday's state funeral.

Annan died in August in Switzerland at age 80. The grandson of tribal chiefs, he was the first black African to become U.N. chief and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.

Ghanaians have thronged at a conference center in Accra to remember him.

"God should have spared him a few more years to help improve the world," 75-year-old retired teacher Kwaku Atiemo tells The Associated Press. "He was a son Ghana is proud of and Africans felt good about him."

"God should keep him in a good place," 40-year-old Yawa Doe says.

Ghana has said several African heads of state from Zimbabwe, Liberia, Ivory Coast and elsewhere are expected to attend the funeral.