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Akufo-Addo turns 79 today

By Vincent Ashitey
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President Akufo-Addo today celebrates his 79th birthday. Born William Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on March 29, 1944, he is currently the President of Ghana.

Let's take a closer look at him as he celebrates his birthday.


Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is a legal luminary, politician and a businessman. He was the Presidential candidate for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for the 2016 polls in Ghana. He contested and lost in 2008 and 2012.


Nana Addo was elected three times between 1996 and 2008 as Member of Parliament for the Abuakwa South constituency in the Eastern region of Ghana. He served his nation from 2001 to 2007 as Cabinet Minister, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, and later as Foreign Minister during the government led by President John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor.

Background on Presidential Bid In October 1998, Nana Akufo-Addo competed for the presidential candidacy of the NPP and lost to John Agyekum Kufuor, the man who eventually won the presidential election in Ghana in December 2000 and assumed office as President of Ghana in 2001. Akufo-Addo was the chief campaigner for candidate Kufuor in the 2000 election and became the first Attorney General and Minister for Justice of the Kufuor era.


Akufo-Addo resigned from the Kufuor government in July 2007 to contest for the position of the presidential candidate of his party, the NPP, the then ruling party of Ghana, for the 2008 elections.

Competing against 16 others, he won 48% of the votes in the first round of that election but was given a unanimous endorsement in the second round, making him the party's presidential candidate. In the 7 December 2008 presidential race, he received, in the first round, more votes than John Atta Mills, the eventual winner. In the first round, Akufo-Addo received 4,159,439 votes representing 49.13% of the votes cast, placing him first, but not enough for the 50% needed for an outright victory. In the run-off, Mills received 4,521,032 votes, representing 50.23%.

Akufo-Addo again contested in the 2012 national elections against the NDC candidate, John Mahama, and lost. That election generated considerable controversy and was finally decided by the Supreme Court in a narrow 5/4 decision in favour of John Mahama. In March 2014, Akufo-Addo announced his decision to seek his party's nomination for the third time ahead of the 2016 election. He secured 94.35% of the votes in the party's presidential primary in October, 2014, in a contest of 7 competitors. Akufo-Addo served as Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Mission for the South African elections in 2014.

Political Career

Akufo-Addo once served as the General Secretary of People's Movement for Freedom and Justice (PMFJ). This group led the "NO" campaign in the UNIGOV referendum of 1978, designed to solicit popular support for a one-party military-led State. In 1991, Akufo-Addo was the chairman of the Organising Committee of the Danquah-Busia Memorial Club. Akufo-Addo travelled throughout Ghana to establish branches of the Club all over the country.

These branches eventually transformed into local organs of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) prior to the elections of 1992. In 1992, he was the first National Organiser of the NPP and, later that year became campaign manager of the party's first presidential candidate, Prof. Albert Adu Boahen.

In 1995, he led the Kume Preko (Kill me already) demonstrations of the Alliance For Change (AFC), a broad-based political pressure group to protest the harsh economic conditions of the Rawlings era.

Akufo-Addo was elected three times between 1996 and 2008 as Member of Parliament for the Abuakwa South constituency in the Eastern region of Ghana. Between 2001 to 2007, he served as Cabinet Minister, as Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, and later as Foreign Minister under the government of President Kufuor John Kufour

Legal and Business Career

Akufo-Addo stayed in France for five years as a lawyer at the now-defunct New York-based international law firm, Coudert Brothers. In 1975, he returned home to Accra to continue with his legal career. He joined the chambers of U.V. Campbell from 1975 to 1979.

In 1979, he co-founded the law firm Akufo-Addo, Prempeh & Co. Akufo-Addo has served on the boards and committees of a number of political, legal, commercial, and social organizations in the country.

He was the first Chairperson of DHL (GH) Ltd; Chairperson, Kinesec Communications (Co) Ltd., publishers of The Statesman; and the first Chairperson of the Ghana Committee on Human and Peoples' Rights. He was responsible, through his association with the US Company, Millicom, for introducing mobile telephony into the country.

Educational Background

Akufo-Addo received his primary education first at the Government Boys School, Adabraka, and later at the Rowe Road School (now Kimbu), both in Accra Central. He went to England to study for his O-Level and A-Level examinations at Lancing College, Sussex.

Akufo-Addo as a young lawyer

He returned to Ghana in 1962 to teach at Accra Academy Secondary School, before going to read Economics at the University of Ghana, Legon, in 1964, earning a BSc(Econ) degree in 1967. He subsequently studied law in the UK, and was called to the English Bar (Middle Temple) in July 1971. Akufo-Addo was called to the Ghana bar in July 1975.


Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was born and raised in Ga-Maami (Accra Central) and in the Nima area of Accra. His father's residence, Betty House at Korle Wokon in Accra, was effectively the headquarters of the country's first political party, the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) after it was formed at Saltpond on 4 August 1947.