- Nana Akufo-Addo Wins Ghana Presidential Election
Challenger Nana Akufo-Addo won Ghana’s national election on Friday, tapping into an electorate fed up with a sputtering economy and ready for change.
The erudite 72-year-old human rights lawyer cruised to victory winning 53.8 percent of the votes, according to the country’s election agency.
“I will not let you down. I will do all in my power to live up to your hopes and expectations,” Akufo-Addo said to an ecstatic crowd at his house in the country’s capital of Accra.
“I will do my best to serve your interests and put our country back on the path of progress and prosperity.”
Incumbent John Mahama conceded defeat in the evening two days after a hotly contested race that was seen as a test of the country’s democracy in a region plagued by dictators and coups.
Mahama called to congratulate opposition leader Akufo-Addo, whose New Patriotic Party (NPP) supporters had been gathering for hours outside his house after local media gave him a clear lead following the Wednesday vote.
“Yes he has conceded defeat,” George Lawson of Mahama’s New Democratic Congress (NDC) party told AFP.
Akufo-Addo had campaigned on a platform promising to boost growth and deliver jobs.
“The president of Ghana is president for every single Ghanaian,” Akufo-Addo said, as fireworks popped overhead and thousands of people cheered in the streets outside his house.
– ‘Gold standard’ –
Akufo-Addo’s supporters — almost all in head-to-toe white, a symbol of victory — had been dancing on his lawn for hours in anticipation of his victory speech.
At one point, they broke out in an enthusiastic a cappella rendition of Ghana’s national anthem.
“We have won,” said Hajia Mustafa, a 44-year-old trader, flashing a wide smile, “I have my president, I have my choice.”
The high-stakes race between Akufo-Addo and Mahama has been seen as a litmus test of the stability for one of Africa’s most secure democracies.
But fears of widespread violence erupting during the election never materialised, with a generally peaceful voting day followed by calm as the official results trickled in.
“I think Ghanaians should be extraordinarily proud of themselves,” said Ambassador Johnnie Carson of the National Democratic Institute, an election observer.
“Ghana has distinguished itself in the last two and a half decades with integrity and transparency,” Carson said.
“It is a gold standard for democracy in Africa.”
– ‘Escaped violence’ –
Yet while the European Union Election Observation Mission said that Ghana “largely escaped the violence many had feared” it pointed to other areas of concern.
“The misuse of incumbency, including unequal access to state media, and unaccountable campaign financing were areas Ghana could address in the future,” said the mission in a statement.
Akufo-Addo will serve a four-year term in the former British colony, a once booming country that has seen its economy slow, currency deteriorate and inflation soar.
Mahama, who came to power in 2012 after beating Akufo-Addo, had urged voters to “stay the course”, promising to deliver more infrastructure projects.
In his third bid for the top job, Akufo-Addo blasted Ghana’s poor economic growth rate — estimated at 3.3 percent in 2016, the lowest rate for two decades — and laid out a radical vision to transform the country’s economy.
Akufo-Addo had also warned his supporters that “vigilance is key” at the polls in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the 2012 vote — narrowly won by Mahama with 50.7 percent — that he contested unsuccessfully in the country’s Supreme Court.
Ghana is the world’s second biggest producer of cocoa after Ivory Coast and Africa’s second biggest gold producer after South Africa.
But it was forced to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2015 for a bailout as global commodity prices tanked.
China and EU Seek Partnership: Xi Jinping Proposes Key Trade Alliance
Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his desire for China and the European Union (EU) to become key trade partners and foster trust in supply chains, during a meeting with EU leaders in Beijing.
The talks marked the first in-person summit between the two sides in four years and addressed a range of economic concerns, including data flows and market access.
Xi emphasized China’s commitment to high-quality development and opening up, positioning the EU as a crucial partner in economic and trade cooperation.
He envisioned the EU as a trusted collaborator in industrial and supply chain cooperation, aiming for mutual benefits and win-win results.
The summit delved into longstanding issues, such as efforts by Europe to “de-risk” its supply chains and the EU’s anti-subsidies investigation into Chinese-made electric vehicles.
China criticized the investigation, urging the EU to avoid using it for “trade protectionism.”
Xi called for the elimination of interference between China and the EU, a statement likely directed at the United States, which has taken actions, including enlisting the Netherlands, to curb China’s development of high-end semiconductors.
The EU leaders, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, described their conversation with Xi as “good and candid.”
They discussed the main challenges amid increasing geopolitical frictions, emphasizing a commitment to balanced trade relations and pledging to enhance people-to-people exchanges.
During the meeting, Italy formally informed China of its exit from the Belt and Road Initiative, highlighting ongoing strains between the EU and China.
Xi discussed Belt and Road with EU leaders, expressing a willingness to connect it with the EU’s Global Gateway infrastructure plan.
However, deep issues remain, including Russia’s war in Ukraine, trade imbalances, and Chinese overcapacity exported to Europe.
Jens Eskelund, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, stressed the need to address these issues to foster a positive relationship between Beijing and Brussels.
UAE Commits $30 Billion as COP28 Climate Talks Kick Off in Dubai
Nigeria Eyes BRICS Membership within Two Years as Foreign Minister Emphasizes Strategic Alignment
In a strategic move towards global economic collaboration, Nigeria is aspiring to join the BRICS group of nations within the next two years.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, affirmed that Nigeria is open to aligning itself with groups that demonstrate good intentions, well-meaning goals, and clearly defined objectives.
Tuggar stated, “Nigeria has come of age to decide for itself who her partners should be and where they should be; being multiple aligned is in our best interest.”
He emphasized the need for Nigeria to be part of influential groups like BRICS and the G-20, citing criteria such as population and economy size that position Nigeria as a natural candidate.
BRICS, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, stands as a formidable bloc of emerging market powers.
In a recent move to expand its influence, BRICS invited six additional nations, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Argentina, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates, to join the group.
Nigeria, as Africa’s largest economy, has been absent from the BRICS alliance, prompting discussions on the potential economic and political advantages the bloc could offer the country.
Analysts have noted that BRICS membership could provide Nigeria with significant leverage on the global stage.
Vice President Kashim Shettima clarified that Nigeria did not apply for BRICS membership after the bloc’s announcement of new members in August.
Shettima emphasized the principled approach of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, highlighting a commitment to consensus building in decisions related to international partnerships.
As Nigeria eyes BRICS membership, the move is seen as a strategic step towards enhancing its global economic and diplomatic influence.
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