His Excellency Former President John Agyekum Kufuor Appointed Chancellor of UMaT

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H.E. J A Kufour

The Council of the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa at its 62nd (Regular) Meeting held on 15th September, 2017 appointed His Excellency Former President John Agyekum Kufuor as Chancellor of the University. President Kufuor has thus become the first Chancellor to be appointed by this University. The appointment makes President Kufuor the Titular Head of the University and he will preside at the ceremonies of the University and confer on qualified persons all degrees, diplomas and certificates awarded by the University.

The University Council, acting on a recommendation of a Search Committee, appointed President Kufuor to a first term of five years and to be renewed for another term of five years. His appointment took effect from 1st November, 2017.

President Kufuor was born on 8th December, 1938 at Kumasi (Ghana). He was called to the Bar at Lincoln Inn, London (1959-1961) and obtained a BA Honours Degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Exeter College, University of Oxford (1961-1964). He also holds an MA in Economics from Oxford.

H.E President J. A. Kufuor

His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor served two terms as president of the Republic of Ghana from 2001–2009.

During his presidency, he served as Chairperson of the African Union (2007–2008) during which he supervised the peaceful resolution of the electoral conflict in Kenya in 2008, among others. He was also Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for two terms (2003–2005) and saw to the successful negotiations that brought peace and major post-war reconstruction to Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Liberia.

Earlier in his career, he was twice elected as Member of Parliament (1969–1972) and (1979–1981). He served as a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (1969-1972), and represented Ghana’s delegation to the United Nations (UN) in 1970; Secretary for Local Government, and Chief Legal Officer and City Manager of Kumasi, the second largest city in Ghana.

Under his presidency, Ghana witnessed the fastest growth in its history; attaining a lower Middle-Income status by 2006 much earlier than the projected year of 2015 as envisaged under her own development agenda and GDP growth reached a record of 8.4% between 2007 and 2008, even in the midst of the international financial and economic crises.

He introduced a Health Insurance Scheme, with free maternal care for pregnant women, under which about 56% of the population was registered in its early years and also instituted the Free School Feeding programme to provide one nutritious meal a day for school children from kindergarten (age four), to Junior High School (age 16).

Under President Kufuor, the Ghana’s Agricultural Extension Services programme was reactivated and special attention paid to educating cocoa farmers on best practices.  As a result, between 2002 and 2005, cocoa production in Ghana, the world’s second largest producer, doubled from 350,000 tonnes to 734,000 tonnes a year, an all-time record in more than a century of cocoa production in the country. Using similar measures, production of food crops, livestock and fish increased tremendously and poverty levels in Ghana were cut in half early in his administration.

Under his watch, Ghana experienced a very robust infrastructural development in the areas of roads, schools and hospitals, among others.

In retirement, President Kufuor has set up the John A Kufuor Foundation on Leadership, Governance and Development. In 2011 he was named joint-winner of the World Food Prize for Food and Agriculture with former Brazilian President Lula da Silva.

He is currently a Global Ambassador against Hunger for the UN World Food Programme, Chairman of the UN Interpeace Program, Chairman of the Sanitation and Water for All Partnership, Global Envoy for the Neglected Tropical Diseases Alliance, and Lead Advocate for the Partnership for Child Development.

Other positions President Kufuor holds include: President of the Italian Development Organisation, Alliance for Africa, member of Club de Madrid; Director of Brenthurst Foundation of South Africa, Director of the Leon Sullivan Foundation, Director of the Netherlands Development Corporation, and a member of the Global Citizenship Commission tasked with updating the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

President Kufuor was one of 10 distinguished global leaders tasked to work on the reform of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

He has served as a leader of several election monitoring delegations to several African countries under the auspices of the African Union and ECOWAS.

President Kufuor has received numerous awards including, the Chatham House prize for Good Leadership by Queen Elizabeth II of Britain, Germany's highest national award - the Bundesverskkreuz by former President Horst Kohler, Liberia's highest award of the Grand Cordon in the Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of the Pioneers for helping to return peace to that country.

He has received several honorary doctoral degrees from universities in Britain, Nigeria, Ghana and South Korea.

The new University was inaugurated by His Excellency President Kufuor on 18th August, 2005 and he is now appointed as the first Chancellor.

Source: Paul Y. A. Yeboah, Assistant Registrar (University Relations)

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