PRESIDENT NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO-ADDO

Ghana 2018 | DIPLOMACY | PROFILE

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was elected in 2016 after a long career of political involvement. Now at the helm, he seeks socially responsible growth and a diversified economy.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

Born March 29, 1944, in Swalaba, Accra, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was raised in Accra, Ghana's capital, in a family closely tied with political activism. Three of the Big Six founding fathers of Ghana were Nana's blood relatives: J.B Danquah, grand uncle, William Ofori Atta, uncle, and Edward Akufo-Addo, who became the third Chief Justice and later ceremonial President of the Republic from 1970-72, was his father, whose residence in Accra used to be the headquarters of the country's first political party, the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC).

After completing his primary education in Accra at the Government Boys School and later Rowe Road School, Akufo-Addo went on to the UK to study for his O-Level and A-Level examinations. He returned to Ghana in 1962 to teach at the Accra Academy before going to the University of Ghana in 1964, where he graduated as an economist. Finally, he went on to read law in the UK and was called to the English Bar (Middle Temple) in July 1971 and the Ghana Bar in 1975.
Akufo-Addo started his professional career in France, where he gained exposure to the dynamics of international corporate transactions working as a lawyer at Coudert Brothers.
He then returned home to Accra to continue with his legal career, co-founding one of the most prominent law firms in Ghana, the Akufo-Addo, Prempeh & Co., which has acted as a school of life for some of the most renowned lawyers at the Ghanaian bar today. Through his law practice, he spurred initiatives to protect the independence of the judiciary, the right of the citizen to demonstrate without police permit, and the right of equal access of all political parties to the state-owned media.
His devotion to the cause of human rights, rule of law, justice, freedom, and democracy pushed him to slowly gain prominence in the Ghanaian political apparatus. Bringing with him a great wealth of experience in the private sector, Akufo-Addo became the General Secretary of the broad-based People's Movement for Freedom and Justice (PMFJ). The group is still today remembered for leading the “NO" campaign in the UNIGOV referendum of 1978, designed to solicit popular support for a one-party, military-led state, which eventually led to the led to the downfall of the Acheampong military government on July 5, 1978, and the restoration of multiparty democratic rule to the country in 1979.
After a brief moment in exile in Europe, he came back to Ghana to establish the branches of the Danquah-Busia Memorial Club all over the country in grassroots style. These branches eventually transformed into local organs of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) prior to the elections of 1992, which heralded the reintroduction of democratic governance under the 4th Republic. Between 1996 and 2008, Akufo-Addo was elected three times as Member of Parliament for the Abuakwa South constituency in the Eastern region of Ghana. From 2001 to 2007, as Cabinet Minister, first as Attorney-General and Minister for Justice for two years, and later as Foreign Minister for five years, Akufo-Addo served in the government of President John Kufuor with distinction.
Following a long-time militancy in the NPP, Akufo-Addo's presidential ambitions soared in October 1998, when he competed for the presidential candidacy of the NPP and lost to John Kufuor, the man who eventually won the December 2000 presidential election and assumed office as President of Ghana in January 2001.
In 2007, Akufo-Addo resigned from the Kufuor government to contest for the position of presidential candidate of his party, the NPP, for the 2008 elections. Despite achieving 49.13% of the votes cast in the first round, in the run-off he ended up losing to John Atta Mills by the smallest margin in Ghana's, and, indeed, Africa's political history. Akufo-Addo again contested in the 2012 national elections against the NDC candidate, the late Mills' successor as president, John Mahama, and lost for a second time. In 2016, he was at last elected President of Ghana in the December 7 elections, after obtaining 53.85% of the total valid votes cast, as announced by the Electoral Commission.
At the forefront of his political platform, Akufo-Addo seeks to bring, in his own words, “growth that is socially responsible, diversified, spread geographically, and that comes from genuine value addition." This broader goal will be achieved via the increased participation of the private sector and the implementation of major infrastructural and social investments aimed at tapping into the huge potential of the agriculture and manufacturing sector, while reforming secondary education.