The leader of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has won Ghana’s fiercely-contested presidential election, pledging to put the resource-rich West African state back on the path of development. Late on Friday, Ghana’s Electoral Commission declared Nana Akufo-Addo the winner of Wednesday’s poll with 53.8 percent of the votes, while President John Mahama gained 44.4 percent. The turnout of the election was put at 68.6 percent. Akufo-Addo, who had formerly served as foreign minister and attorney general in Ghana, won the presidency on his third attempt to reach the post.
The 72-year-old human rights lawyer will serve a four-year term in the ex-British colony. Addressing his supporters outside his house in the capital city of Accra, Akufo-Addo promised to do his “best to serve your interests and put our country back on the path of progress and prosperity.” “I will not let you down. I will do all in my power to live up to your hopes and expectations,” he added.
During a phone conversation, Mahama congratulated Akufo-Addo on winning the race and conceded defeat. Ghana, a once booming country, has seen its economy slow and inflation soar since 2014 due to falling prices for its oil, gold and cocoa exports. The country’s economic growth rate was estimated at 3.3 percent in 2016, the lowest rate recorded for two decades.
The opposition has accused the government of President Mahama of mismanaging the nation’s finances. Akufo-Addo has vowed to kickstart the economy, create jobs, build a factory in each of Ghana’s over 200 districts and make high-school education free. Elections in Ghana have been peaceful since the end of military rule in 1992.