Akufo-Addo is currently the president of the Republic of Ghana. He was born on March 29, 1944, in Swalaba, Accra. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was raised in Accra, Ghana’s capital. His father’s residence 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 August 4, 1947.
Three of the Big Six (founding fathers of Ghana) were Nana’s blood relatives: J.B Danquah (grand uncle), William Ofori Atta (uncle), and his father, Edward Akufo-Addo, became the third Chief Justice and later President of the Republic from 1970-72.
Akufo-Addo had his primary education at the Government Boys School and later Rowe Road School both in Accra Central. Nana went on to England to study for his O-Level and A-Level examinations.
He returned to Ghana in 1962 to teach at Accra Academy before going to the University of Ghana in 1964 to read Economics. After graduating as an economist, 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.
He is married to Rebecca, daughter of the Speaker of the Parliament of the Third Republic of Ghana, the late Mr Justice J.H Griffiths-Randolph. They have five children and five grandchildren and are both devout Church-going Christians.
In his early 30s, Akufo-Addo was the General Secretary of the broad-based People’s Movement for Freedom and Justice (PMFJ), which was comprised of political stalwarts such as Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa, William Ofori-Atta, Komla Agbeli Gbedemah, Albert Adu Boahen, Sam Okudzeto, Obed Asamoah, Godfrey Agama, K. S. P. Jantuah, Jones Ofori-Atta, Johnny Hanson and Nii Amaah Amartefio (“Mr No”). 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, a club dedicated to the preservation of the memory and ideals of the two great advocates of Ghanaian democracy, J. B. Danquah and K. A. Busia, Prime Minister of the Progress Party government of the second Republic of Ghana.
Akufo-Addo travelled throughout Ghana to establish branches of the Club all over the country in the grassroots style for which he is known. 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.
In 1992, he was the first national organiser of the NPP and later that year, campaign manager of the party’s first presidential candidate, Prof. Albert Adu Boahen. 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. 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.
As Attorney-General, he was responsible for the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law, which, hitherto, had been used to intimidate the media and criminalise free speech. The repeal has enabled the Ghanaian media to become one of the most vibrant and freest in Africa. Under his chairmanship of the Legal Sector Reform Committee, the implementation of the court automation programme was initiated.
As Foreign Minister, he was fully involved in the successful Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) peace efforts in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, and Guinea Bissau, and was chairman of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council in 2003.
In 2004, Ghana was elected one of the 15 pioneer members of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council, a mandate that was renewed at the AU Summit in Khartoum in January 2006. Akufo-Addo was chosen by his peers on the AU Executive Council to chair the Ministerial Committee of 15 that fashioned the Ezulwini Consensus, which defined the African Union’s common position on UN Reforms. He negotiated for the 2007 AU Summit to be held in Accra as part of Ghana’s Golden Jubilee celebrations and chaired the AU Executive Council in 2007.
Ghana was elected by her peers to take the non-permanent West African seat on the UN Security Council for 2006-07. In August 2006, Akufo-Addo chaired the meeting of the Security Council which took the decision that halted Israel’s massive incursions into Lebanon.
Again, Ghana was elected to the new UN body, the Human Rights Council, with the highest number of votes—183 out of 191—of any country, and as a pioneer member of another UN body, the Peacebuilding Commission.