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John Agyekum Kufuor

John Agyekum Kufuor

1938

19 October 1938

Early life and education

John Kufuor, born on December 8, 1938, in the Ashanti Region's Kumasi suburb of Daaban, hailed from Ghanaian royalty. His educational journey began at Kumasi Government School and Osei Tutu Boarding School. He then pursued legal studies at London's Lincoln's Inn, achieving barrister qualification in just over a year. He received his bar admissions in both London and Ghana in 1961 and 1962, respectively. After a brief stint at the Ghana Commercial Bank in London, he returned to Ghana in 1965 to practice law. In 1966, he assumed the role of town clerk at Kumasi City Council. Beyond his legal pursuits, Kufuor had diverse interests, including table tennis, reading, football, film, and even took on the chairmanship of the Kumasi Asante Kotoko Football Club at one point.

 
 
 

1962

19 October 1962

Personal life

At the age of 23, Kufuor married Theresa Kufuor (née Mensah) in 1962 after meeting at a Republic Day Anniversary Dance in London in 1961. They raised five children together and are members of the Roman Catholic Church. Kufuor is openly affiliated with the Freemasons and holds the position of Senior Grand Warden of the United Grand Lodge of England. As an Asante, he is fluent in the Twi language and often used it during campaigns in his native Ashanti Region. The Kufuor family resides in Accra, Ghana's capital. Unfortunately, Theresa Kufuor passed away on October 1, 2023.
 

1967

19 October 1967

Early political career

Kufuor's political journey in Ghana began after completing his education, where he held various roles, including chief legal officer and town clerk for Kumasi in 1967. By 1969, he was not only a Member of Parliament but also the deputy foreign minister in Kofi Abrefa Busia's government. He represented Atwima Nwabiagya in the Second and Third Republics and was a founding member of the Progress Party.

In his capacity as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kufuor represented Ghana in international forums like the United Nations General Assembly, OAU Ministerial Meetings, and the Non-Aligned Movement Summit. He also led delegations to Moscow, Prague, and Belgrade to address Ghana's debt issues.

1967

19 October 1967

Chief legal officer and town clerk

Kufuor's political journey began in Ghana after completing his education. He held positions including chief legal officer and town clerk for Kumasi in 1967. By 1969, he served as a Member of Parliament and deputy foreign minister in Kofi Abrefa Busia's government. Kufuor represented Atwima Nwabiagya as an MP during the Second and Third Republics and played a pivotal role as a founding member of the Progress Party.

1981

19 October 1981

Popular Front Party (PFP)

During the Third Republic, Kufuor served as the Spokesman on Foreign Affairs and Deputy Opposition Leader for the Popular Front Party (PFP) Parliamentary Group. He accompanied President Hilla Limann to the OAU Summit Conference in Freetown and was part of a parliamentary delegation that engaged with the IMF and the World Bank in the United States in 1981.

1982

19 October 1982

All People's Party (APP)

In 1982, Kufuor was encouraged by the All People's Party (APP) leadership to join a National Government under the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC). He assumed the role of Secretary for Local Government and authored the Local Government Policy Guidelines, which served as the basis for the establishment of today's decentralized District Assemblies.

1996

19 October 1996

Elections

In 1996, Kufuor was nominated by the NPP to run for the Ghanaian presidency, gaining 39.62% of the vote in a December election. In 2000, he was elected president after winning a run-off against John Atta-Mills with 56.9% of the vote, marking the first peaceful transition of power in Ghana's history. Kufuor was re-elected in 2004 with 52.45% of the vote, and his party, the NPP, gained more parliamentary seats.

2008

19 October 2008

Achievements

During his presidency, Kufuor had a significant impact:

  • Health: He introduced the National Health Insurance Scheme, expanded healthcare infrastructure, and offered free maternal healthcare, benefiting millions.

  • Education: Kufuor improved education with the capitation grant, school feeding program, and transformation of Senior Secondary School. He upgraded disadvantaged schools through the model school senior high school concept.

  • Access to Finance: He enhanced financial access with the Microfinance and small loans program (MASLOC) and the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Program (LEAP), aiding disadvantaged households.

  • Sports: Kufuor invested in sports infrastructure, enabling Ghana's qualification for the 2006 World Cup.

  • Economic Development: His good governance policies secured a $500 million grant, promoting entrepreneurship, innovation, and infrastructure development through projects like the George Walker Bush Highway.

2023

19 October 2023

Awards and accolades

Kufuor has received numerous prestigious awards and honors, including the Chatham House Prize, the Climate Change Award, and the World Food Program's Global Ambassador Against Hunger. He also holds distinctions such as the Grand Cordon in the Order of the Knighthood of the Pioneers of Liberia and the World Federation of Honorary Consuls' Order of the Gold Star. He has honorary fellowships from Exeter College, Oxford University, and John Moore University in the UK, along with an honorary doctorate from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. Kufuor was honored with the Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath by Queen Elizabeth II and received state honors from various countries, including Italy, Germany, and Brazil. He holds the title of Senior Grand Warden of the United Grand Lodge of England, appointed by Prince Edward, The Duke of Kent, and has foreign honors, including the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in the United Kingdom and the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Pioneers of Liberia.

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