Otumfuo Osei Tutu II is the 16th Asantehene, the traditional ruler of the Kingdom of Ashanti in Ghana since 26 April 1999 till date.
By name, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II is in direct succession to the founder of the Kingdom of Ashanti, Otumfuo Osei Tutu I. The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II was born on 6th May,1950 and named Nana Barima Kwaku Duah, the youngest of the five children of Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II, Asantehemaa (Queen-mother of the Ashanti Kingdom). His father Nana Kwame Boakye-Dankwa was from Kantinkyere in Ashanti Region and was also the Brehyia Duke of Asante. Nana Kwame Boakye-Dankwa died on 1st January, 2002 in Kumasi, Ashanti Region.
Osei Tutu had his "O"-level education at Sefwi Wiawso Senior High School and Osei Kyeretwie Secondary School (OKESS). He went to study Accounting at the Institute of Professional Studies (IPS) in Accra in 1971. He further went to the United Kingdom to enrol in Kilburn Polytechnic in North-West London to pursue Accounting Studies. He graduated in Philosophy with a first-class degree and degree of Doctor of Philosophy, conferred at a ceremony at the Barbican Centre on 11th January 2006.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has won great admiration for the leadership he has provided the people of Asante in particular, and Ghana in general, since he assumed the high office of Asantehene and the enormous responsibilities that comes with the position.
Ever mindful of the importance of peace and stability to good governance, one of his first tasks was to encourage his people to seek the path of arbitration instead of litigation in numerous land and succession disputes that had plagued Asanteman for decades. This task, he has performed with great wisdom and tenacity of purpose, earning for himself remarkable respect among the people. The vision of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II encompasses education, health and economic development.
The Asantehene set up the Otumfuo Education Fund to generate resources, as an effort to provide opportunities for quality Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and Vocational Education not only in his Kingdom but also in Ghana generally. In 2000, he embarked upon a vigorous campaign to draw attention to the benefits of individual / group sponsorship of the education of orphaned children. Since its inception, the Otumfuo Education Fund has benefited over 5,000 students at various levels of education.
It was his keen determination to enhance the quality of education of Ghanaians that he received the commendation of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, conferring on him the Symons Award in April 2000.
Otumfuo was appointed Chancellor of one of the most prestigious Universities in Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology(KNUST), Kumasi.
Another initiative of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, is the Health Fund he has established to pursue a basic health care plan whose laudable objectives include financial and material support for the reduction of maternal and infant mortality, glaucoma and other eye diseases, Buruli Ulcer (which has become the bane of many rural dwellers in the Country), as well as the eradication of Guinea Worm disease.
-He has also set up the Serwaa Ampem AIDs Foundation for children under the leadership of his wife, Lady Julia Osei Tutu to help children who have become victims of the HIV/AIDs pandemic.
-In his own initiative, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II secured a World Bank grant with the approval of the Government of Ghana for a pilot project. Entitled; "Promoting Partnerships with Traditional Authorities Project” (PPTAP), it has thrown a challenge to our Traditional Leaders to demonstrate their capacity to use their own resources in response to financial support made available by the Government or the World Bank to help develop their communities.
-Residential quarters have been erected with facilities for potable water and electricity supply; HIV / AIDS and Under the Project, new school, buildings have been built, old ones have been rehabilitated, and teachers general health campaign in co-operation with the state agencies has been stepped up in the rural areas.
-Also, Otumfuo set up the Asanteman Economic Revitalisation Plan to promote private and corporate investment in Local Industries, re-afforestation, and irrigation programmes.
-Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has brought peace and reconciliation to his Kingdom. He has settled over five hundred Chieftaincy and Land disputes: he has established a solid foundation for co-operation between tradition and modernism, by emphasizing the need for tradition to redefine itself in a rapidly changing world without losing its essence.
-Since the ascension to the throne, Otumfuo has been the official guest of many world dignitaries including, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, Queen Beatrix of Holland, Mr James D. Wolfensohn, former President of the World Bank, His Excellency Busumuru. Kofi Annan, U. N. Secretary-General, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Mr. Nelson Mandela, Mr. Don McKinnon, Commonwealth Secretary-General, the President of Ethiopia, the Archbishop of Canterbury, President Alhaji Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone, President Muammar Al Qathafi of Libya King Mohammed VI of Morocco, and President Horst Kholer of Germany.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II is a great Leader of Asanteman, leading in the preservation of cultural heritage as well as combining modernism and tradition to promote education, health, and economic development of his people.