H.E. John Agyekum Kufuor 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 his 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. 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. Mr. Kufuor comes to the Presidency with impressive Public service credentials, spanning over thirty years. In 1967, he 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 was twice elected as a Member of Parliament, during the Second and Third Republics. He was also in political detention on two occasions as a result of military coups that overthrew the Second and Third Republics.
He was a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and in that capacity, he represented Ghana on several occasions. From 1969 to December, 1971, 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.
In 1970, he 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.As the Spokesman on Foreign Affairs and Deputy Opposition Leader of the Popular Front Party (PFP) Parliamentary Group during the Third Republic, he was invited to accompany President Limann to the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Summit Conference in Freetown, Sierra Leone. He was also a member of the parliamentary Delegation that visited the United States of America (USA) in 1981 to talk to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank on Ghana’s economic problems.
In January, 1982, the leadership of the All People’s Party (APP), which was an alliance of all the opposition parties, advised some leading members, including the Deputy Leader of the Alliance, Alhaji Iddrisu Mahama, the General Secretary, Dr. Obed Asamoah and Mr. J. A. Kufuor to accept an invitation from the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) to serve in what was purported to be a National Government.
Mr. Kufuor was appointed the Secretary for Local Government in this new Government. As a Secretary for Local Government, he authored the Local Government Policy Guidelines that were to be the foundation of the current decentralized of District Assemblies.He resigned within seven months of acceptance of the position after having satisfied himself that the PNDC Government was not the national Government that it promised to be. He was particularly uncomfortable with the brutality, intolerance and abuse of human rights that characterized the PNDC government.
On April 20th 1996, Mr. J. A. Kufuor was nominated by delegates of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to run for the President of Ghana elections, which he was unsuccessful. He was re-nominated by the New Patriotic Party to run again for President in the 2000 elections.
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 gover¬nance, 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 neighborliness policy has been pursued which has seen Ghana under President Kufuor brokering peace in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d’lvoire 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 is pursuing 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 (Ghana is the first country to undergo Peer Review under NEPAD’s Africa Peer Review Mechanism) and responsible member of the comity of nations.
Finally, President Kufuor’s good governance policy has led to Ghana obtaining a record $500 million grant from the U.S Millennium Challenge Account for economic development. 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.