President Akufo-Addo confirmed in office – ruling party NPP suffers losses
President Akufo-Addo and his deputy Mahamudu Bawumia will head the country for another four years. As expected, the election victory for the incumbent was relatively clear, so that he could win the election on December 7, 2020 in the first ballot. This victory, however, was not as brilliant as the President and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) would have liked. Because the NPP suffered painful losses, lost 34 seats in the 275-seat parliament and finally came up with a disappointing 137 seats. The opposition party New Democratic Congress (NDC), on the other hand, celebrated after the devastating election defeat in 2016 and the colorless presidential candidate John Mahama, who had been voted out four years earlier, made a political comeback and was on par with the ruling party with 137 seats. An independent candidate who had previously been ousted from within the NPP won a mandate in the NPP stronghold of Ashanti. Thus, for the first time in the 4th Republic, a president does not have his own absolute parliamentary majority, which is likely to make future government work more difficult.
Jerry John Rawlings passes away
The news of the sudden death of Jerry John Rawlings, better known as JJ Rawlings, which hit the media on November 12, 2020, caused consternation and grief in large parts of the Ghanaian population. Rawlings, born in 1947, who like no other Ghanaian, including the state founder Kwame Nkrumah, left his mark on the country, passed away after a short illness. The once loved, hated and always controversial air force officer, coupist, revolutionary, dictator and politician went through countless and daring changes like no other Ghanaian before finally paving the way for the democratically legitimized fourth republic in early 1993. This parforc ride, which lasted more than 20 years and also demanded several victims, made Rawlings immortal during his lifetime. And since the end of his long period of reign in January 2001 he worked hard and quite successfully on his own legend, which aimed to gain the authority to interpret his view of things. He has largely succeeded in doing this, which has increased the intensity of grief in Ghana.
Ghana becomes the seat of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat
At the 12th special summit of the African Union (AU), which took place at the beginning of July 2019 in the Nigerien capital Niamey, the heads of state and government approved the secretariat for this ‘African Continental Free Trade Area’ (AfCFTA) in Accra. As one of 16 countries located in Western Africa according to ethnicityology, Ghana prevailed against several applicants. The secretariat is responsible for implementing the trade agreement. The main goals of the AfCFTA agreement are the establishment of a common market. In two further steps, freedom of movement for all persons and a common currency should take place.
The voters have spoken: referendums on administrative reform ended
After the Supreme Court paved the way for far-reaching administrative reform at the end of November 2018, voters in the affected regions were called on December 27, 2018 to cast their votes for or against the expansion of the regions. The court had dismissed the complaint and stated that the constitution makes very precise requirements and the government has adhered to these constitutional requirements. This enabled the referendums to be held in the six areas of the affected regions Brong Ahafo, Northern, Western and Volta. The founding of the regions North East and Savannah (formerly part of the Northern Region), Western North (formerly part of the Western Region), Oti (formerly part of the Volta Region) and Ahafo and Bono East (formerly part of the Brong Ahafo Region) stood for voting..
The results in all affected areas were overwhelming in favor of enlargement, which, however, given the extremely high number of yes votes, raised questions about correct and credible votes. Regardless of this, President Akufo-Addo put the new administrative structure with 16 regions into effect in February 2019 and also named the capitals of the six new regions.
Another constitutional referendum scheduled for mid-December 2019 dealt with the admission of parties to local elections in the districts (Metropolitan, Municipial and District). Criticism and open resistance increased noticeably in the weeks leading up to the referendum. In view of this development and the high constitutional hurdles – quorum of 40 percent of all eligible voters and approval of at least 75 percent – a failure was already apparent in the run-up to the referendum, so that on December 1, 2019, the president felt compelled to cancel the referendum. A few days later, the law to hold the referendum was also formally withdrawn, as was the chair of the electoral commission announced that a new legislative initiative would be necessary, which is unlikely in the foreseeable future given the subliminally widespread criticism of the project.
Exhibition center in Accra – location of the republica conference
Digitization is progressing with verve
In December 2018, Ghana’s capital Accra was the venue for digitization enthusiasts and IT professionals from Ghana and Germany. The re: publica conference, which has taken place annually in Berlin since 2007, was rescheduled for two days, from 14.-15. December, its center point to Accra. This meanwhile established conference took place on African soil for the first time, which should bring the West African country a further gain in prestige and underscore Ghana’s pioneering role in the field of digitization.
For the second time, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel received the heads of state of the African Compact partner countries
On November 19, 2019, the German government once again hosted the Compact with Africa conference in Berlin, which was attended by the heads of state and government of the twelve member states. Ghana’s head of state Akufo-Addo was one of the participants, as Ghana is one of the reform partner countries in German development cooperation. This time South Africa joined the initiative as a partner. As in October 2018, representatives from the World Bank, the IMF, the African Development Bank and the African Union were present. The aim was to further strengthen the sub-Saharan initiative launched by German business.
Angela Merkel had already visited Ghana on August 30, 2018 on her short trip to Africa, which initially took her to Senegal. The trip ended with a subsequent visit to Nigeria. The topic of migrants was a part of all of the discussions, although economic issues were placed in the foreground. For this purpose, the German economy present in Ghana organized a round table to sound out the investment field and to further develop the G20 initiative Compact-with-Africa. VW and Siemens promised larger investments in this regard. At the end of her stay in Ghana, the Chancellor met with young entrepreneurs from the start-up industry.