President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor arrived in the island on July 11, 2005 for a three-day working visit. He is the second Head of State from that country to visit Jamaica. The last leader from Ghana to visit Jamaica was Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings, who visited in the late 1990s.
H.E. John Agyekum Kufuor, President of the Republic of Ghana, was born on December 8, 1938 in Kumasi, Ghana. He attended Prempeh College for his secondary education, where he passed at the top of his class. He enrolled at Lincoln Inn, London, and was called to the Bar in 1961 at the age of 22. He then enrolled at Oxford University where he passed with an Honours BA degree in 1964 in Economics, Philosophy and Politics. He was subsequently confirmed, in accordance with Oxford traditions, with a Master’s degree by the University.
In 1967, Mr. Kufuor was appointed Chief Legal Officer and Town Clerk (City Manager) of Kumasi, the second largest City of Ghana. He was a member of the 1968-69 and the 1979 Constituent Assemblies that drafted the Constitutions of the Second and Third Republics respectively. In addition he was one of the Founding Members of the Progress Party (PP) in 1969, the Popular Front Party (PFP) in 1979 and is also one of the Founding Members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). He has twice been elected as a Member of Parliament, during the Second and Third Republics. He has also been in political detention on two occasions as a result of military coups that overthrew the Second and Third Republics.
As a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs he has represented Ghana on several occasions. For example, he led Ghana’s Delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Ministerial Meetings in Addis Ababa, and the Summit Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement in Lusaka, Zambia. He also led the Ghanaian Delegation to Moscow in the Former Soviet Union, Prague (Former Czechoslovakia), and Belgrade (Yugoslavia) to discuss Ghana’s indebtedness to these countries.
Mr. J.A. Kufuor won the presidential elections in December 2000 and was sworn in as President on January 7, 2001. His administration’s domestic policy in the first term was marked by fiscal and monetary stringency on the economic front aimed at stabilizing a national economy that had stagnated and was in decline. His social vision was anchored on unleashing the entrepreneurial, creative and innovative potential of Ghanaians as a means of creating wealth and hence dealing with the social challenges facing Ghanaians. This socio-economic vision was encapsulated in the Five Priority Areas Programme vis the pursuit of good governance, modernization of agriculture for rural development, private sector participation, enhanced social services and vigorous infrastructural development.
President Kufuor’s foreign policy was underpinned by what he termed ”economic diplomacy.” It is within this context that in Africa in general and in West Africa in particular a good neighbourliness policy has been pursued which has seen Ghana under President Kufuor brokering peace in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea- Bissau among other African states. On the global stage President Kufuor has actively sought the establishment of a just and equitable international social and economic order and promoted and safeguarded the interests of Ghana at the bilateral and multilateral level. His stature as statesman, democrat and credible spokesman for Africa has found expression in his invitation to major international meetings and conferences including the founding summit of the AU, G8 Summits in Sea Island, Georgia and Glenneagles, Scotland and the World Economic Forum among others.
Due to the policy successes his administration chalked President Kufuor had his mandate renewed in 2004 and was sworn into office on 7th January 2005. Policy direction in President Kufuor’s second term has built on the foundations laid in the first four years. President Kufuor’s administration pursued Ghana’s socio-economic transformation in the second term using the three pronged approach of private sector development, human resource development and good governance. At the international level President Kufuor is consolidating Ghana’s position as the voice of Africa, credible peace broker, beacon of democracy and responsible member of the comity of nations.
J. A. Kufuor is happily married to Theresa (Nee Mensah). The marriage is blessed with five children. Mr. Kufuor and his family belong to the Roman Catholic Church.