A lawyer and a human rights advocate, Akufo-Addo became the president of the young oil-producing West African nation January 7, 2017 after his third attempt. He was floored by late president John Evans Atta Mills and immediate past president John Mahama in the 2008 and 2012 elections respectively.
The Oxford-trained is Ghana’s fifth president under the Fourth Republican constitution and has a mandate to rule until 2020 when he can seek a renewal of his presidency.
He served as an attorney general and foreign affairs minister under the John Kufuor administration – 2001 to 2009. He was also a Member of Ghana’s Parliament from 1997 to 2009 in the Abuakwa South constituency.
Akufo-Addo was born in Accra, Ghana, to a prominent Ghanaian royal and political family as the son of Edward and Adeline Akuffo-Addo. His father was Ghana’s third Chief Justice from 1966 to 1970, Chairman of the 1967–68 Constitutional Commission and the non-executive President of Ghana from 1970 till 1972. Akufo-Addo’s maternal grandfather was Nana Sir Ofori Atta, King of Akyem Abuakwa who was a member of the Executive Council of the Governor of the Gold Coast before Ghana’s independence. He is a nephew of Kofi Asante Ofori-Atta and William Ofori Atta. His great-uncle was J. B. Danquah, another member of The Big Six.
He started his primary education at the Government Boys School, Adabraka, and later at the Rowe Road School (now Kinbu) both in Accra Central. He went to England to study for his O-Level and A-Level examinations at Lancing College, Sussex where he was nicknamed ‘Billy’. He began the Philosophy, Politics and Economics course at New College, Oxford in 1962, but left soon afterwards.
He returned to Ghana in 1962 to teach at Accra Academy Secondary School, before going to read Economics at the University of Ghana, Legon, in 1964, earning a BSc(Econ) degree in 1967. He subsequently studied law in the UK and was called to the English Bar (Middle Temple) in July 1971. Akufo-Addo was called to the Ghanaian bar in July 1975.
Akufo-Addo worked with the Paris office of the U.S. law firm Coudert Brothers. In 1979, he co-founded the law firm Prempeh and Co.