Ghana’s new president, Nana Akufo-Addo, has been sworn in after defeating incumbent John Dramani Mahama in last month’s peaceful elections. On January 7, thousands of officials and guests from across Africa watched Akufo-Addo taking the oath of office at the Independence Square in central Accra, Ghana’s capital. He won the December 7 election on his third run for office.
International dignitaries, including Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Chadian President Idris Deby, and former UN chief Kofi Annan attended the swearing-in ceremony. During the ceremony, Akufo-Addo, 72, a former human rights lawyer vowed to revive Ghana’s economy by reducing taxes and opening new businesses and factories.
He has also promised to “protect and defend” the Constitution of Ghana and to never disappoint his people. “I will not let you, the people of Ghana, down,” Akufo-Addo, 72, wrote on his Twitter feed just after taking office. The latest transition of power took place in the wake of Ghanaians’ deep frustration with the country’s economic management.
In the run-up to the election, Akufo-Addo had blamed Mahama for the economic slump which led to an International Monetary Fund bailout. Mahama, however, denied the charges and declared that the government was facing “strong headwinds” at the time which entailed slow growth, rise of public sector debt and the sinking currency.
In a farewell address, however, Mahama encouraged Ghanaians to support Akufo-Addo as his successor. Akufo-Addo is forced to stick to the International Monetary Fund’s two-year austerity plan introduced in 2015 for a bailout as the country faced inflation and high debt. Akufo-Addo is a major exporter of cocoa and gold. Ghana is the world’s second-largest producer of cocoa and Africa’s second biggest gold producer after South Africa. Ghana’s economic growth is expected to return to above eight percent in 2017.