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Nana Akufo-Addo acknowledges cheers after he was sworn in as Ghana's new president at the Independence Square, Accra. Left is First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo / Photo: NDAA

President Akufo-Addo declares Ghana open for business as he promises to govern with integrity

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was sworn in on Saturday as Ghana’s new president at a ceremony in Accra, the country’s capital, marking the latest peaceful transition of power in the West African country.

In a speech as he took office, the president said “I pledge to do my best to move this country to higher level of development; I will not let the good people of Ghana down”.

The 72-year-old president also promised to deepen democracy in Ghana and introduce free high school education and build more factories. He also vowed to reduce taxes to boost the economy and declared that Ghana was “open for business again”.

The ceremony, reinforcing Ghana’s reputation for the peaceful transfer of power between political parties, was attended by many African leaders / Photo: NDAA

Akufo-Addo promised to put Ghana “back on the path of progress and prosperity” after an economic slump under former President John Mahama that led to an International Monetary Fund bailout.

“I ask you to be citizens: citizens, not spectators; citizens, not subjects; responsible citizens building your communities and our nation. Let us work until the work is done,” he called on his countrymen und women.

President Akufo-Addo promised to instil integrity as a culture in the governance of the country by protecting the public purse from persons who are in to make money.

He noted: “State coffers are not spoils for the party that wins an election, but resources for the country’s social and economic development.”

He was emphatic that “Public service is just that – service and not an avenue for making money.  Money is to be made in the private sector, not the public. Measures will be put in place to ensure this.” all.

More than 6,000 members of the public, dignitaries and heads of state were in attendance, including Presidents Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, Ali Bongo (Gabon), Alasane Ouattara (Côte d’Ivoire), Faure Gnassingbe (Togo) and Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya).

The ceremony was attended by more than 6,000 people – Ghanaians and international guests

Akufo-Addo, a former human rights lawyer who served as foreign and justice ministers from 2000-2008, won 53.85 per cent of the votes to defeat Mahama who got 44 per cent at the country’s presidential election on 7 December. Mahama was the first incumbent to be defeated in Ghana’s history.

Ghana has been a multi-party democracy since the end of military rule in 1992 and the latest transition is seen as reinforcing its reputation for the peaceful transfer of power between political parties.

Felix Dappah

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