It is third time lucky for Ghana opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo. He has been declared president after defeating incumbent John Mahama by 53.8 percent to 44.4 percent in the country’s national election.
“The chairperson of the electoral commission declared me the winner of the 2016 presidential election,” said Akufo-Addo.
Akufo-Addo, of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), served as foreign minister and attorney general in a previous NPP government.
“I decided to congratulate the president-elect,” said Mahama.
“With this understanding, I’d like to assure the people of Ghana of my commitment to the sustenance of our country’s democracy and will work to ensure a smooth and peaceful transition to the incoming administration.”
Akufo-Addo’s win brought his supporters out onto the streets to celebrate.
It is the third time the government’s been voted out since 2000 – cementing Ghana’s reputation as a standard bearer of democracy in a region blighted by civil wars and coups.
The NPP will inherit an economy from Mahama’s National Democratic Congress that for years was rated one of Africa’s most dynamic, but has slowed sharply since 2014, in part because of prices for the country’s main exports – gold, cocoa and oil – have fallen.
That made the government vulnerable to opposition accusations it had mismanaged the nation’s finances and squandered wealth from oil, which started to flow in 2010 from an offshore field operated by British company Tullow.
The NPP says it will create jobs, build a dam in every village and a factory in every district and give each constituency the equivalent of one million US dollars per year to pursue development projects.
At the same time, it also aims to maintain a tight fiscal stance in a country that is mid-way through an International Monetary Fund programme aimed at restoring balance to an economy facing elevated inflation and other problems.