Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (born William Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo; 29 March 1944) is the President of Ghana, in office since January 2017. He previously served as Attorney General from 2001 to 2003 and as Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2003 to 2007. Akufo-Addo first ran for President in 2008 and again in 2012, both times as the candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), but was defeated on both occasions by NDC candidates: John Atta Mills in 2008 and John Dramani Mahama in 2012. He was chosen as the NPP’s candidate for a third time in the 2016 elections and defeated Mahama in the first round (winning 53.85% of the votes).
Akufo-Addo’s participation in politics began in the late 1970s when he joined the People’s Movement for Freedom and Justice, an organization formed to oppose the General Acheampong-led Supreme Military Council’s Union Government proposals. In May 1995, he was among a broad group of elites who formed Alliance for Change, an alliance that organized demonstrations against neo-liberal policies such as the introduction of Value Added Tax and human rights violations of the Rawlings presidency. The broad-based opposition alliance later collapsed as the elite leaders jostled for leadership positions. In the 1990s, he formed a civil rights organization called Ghana’s Committee on Human and People’s Rights.
Akufo-Addo took office on 7 January 2017. His inauguration was held at Black Star Square in Accra. Twelve presidents from African and European countries attended the ceremony, including Edgar Lungu of Zambia, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria.
Akufo-Addo faced global backlash, especially on social media, for plagiarizing parts of his inauguration speech, having lifted passages, word-for-word, from previous inaugural addresses given by American presidents John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as well as prepared remarks given by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at a 2015 United States Institute of Peace event. After the scandal came to light, his press office issued an apology with his communication director describing the situation as a “complete oversight and never deliberate. However, after the mea culpa, it was found that Akufo-Addo had also plagiarized portions of his 2013 concession speech after the Supreme Court of Ghana upheld the 2012 electoral victory of President John Mahama. In that speech, lines were lifted verbatim from United States Vice President Al Gore’s 2000 presidential concession speech given after the US Supreme Court verdict.