April 24, 2024

Regardless of the packed schedule of his professional life, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, manages to spend time with his family.

The President made this known on Wednesday, January 10, 2024 at Jubilee House, when some Immersive Field Courses (IFC) students of the Harvard Business School visited him.

President Akufo-Addo was bombarded with questions from the students, one of which was to know how he strikes a balance between his personal and professional lives.

The president, in answering the question, admitted it was a difficult one, but told the students that it was important not to get consumed by the workload of his office.

He said the First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has been bearing the brunt of the pressures associated with the office, but he tries “as much as possible to” strike the balance.

“The challenges, that’s a difficult one. Personal and public, yeah, it is a sort of question that other people should be here to be able to answer, [like] my wife, who has been the one to bear the brunt of the pressures of this office,” he said to the amusement of the students.

He continued, “But it is very important to try and strike the balance so that you don’t get consumed by the work you do in this office.

“That, you give yourself an opportunity still to do some things. I mean, go to shows, go to restaurants, have time to be with your family, and all of those. It is important that those continue. I have been a workaholic, but nevertheless, it is important that those balances are struck. I try as much as possible to do so.”

QUESTION

Dyllan Muller, one of the Harvard Business School IFC students from Australia, posed that question to President Akufo-Addo.

He said that as students, they love to keep themselves busy, but sometimes it is hard to find the balance between their personal and professional lives.

“As president, I can’t think of anyone that has more packed schedule than yourself. So how have you managed to navigate the challenges that come between balancing your personal and professional life as president, to not only be a good president but also a good friend and family member?” Muller asked.

He was one of eight students who asked President Akufo-Addo questions. Other questions were about the International Monetary Fund (IMF), international relations and its politics, with regards to Ghana.

Taking his turn, Ian Irungu, a Kenyan, asked the President about Ghana’s leadership in regional integration and initiatives to mirror the success of the East African community.

Another question was asked about what sectors the president would have paid much attention to, if he had another term.

RESPONSES

In his response, President Akufo-Addo was quick to point out his flagship policy, One District, One Factory, but also added agriculture.

Advising his successor on hindsight, he said they should recognise that the period in office is much shorter than it may seem.

He said, therefore, that the urgency to implement programmes in the initial days should “be re-doubled. That’s the lesson that I have learned. If you don’t act quickly, you are less likely to get the results that you anticipate. So, on hindsight, that will be my advice to my successor. Get going as quickly as possible and you have a better chance of succeeding and being able to leave a positive imprint on the future,” he said.

On the issue of international relations and politics, President Akufo-Addo said that Ghana deals with every country on merit.

He explained that, whatever feud there may be between the developed countries, for instance China and America, Ghana is not a party to it and the same should not affect the nation’s individual trade relations with those countries.

President Akufo-Addo would like a situation where the IMF serves as an interface between private and public funds.

He explained that the Bretton Woods Institution holds in trust the taxes of American citizens, but if it had access to private funds, it would be in a better position to lend more to developing countries.

He remarked that the private sector holds more funds than the public sector, which could make huge funds available to the IMF, than what it is getting from American taxpayers.

Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo told the students that Africa was working towards leveraging the continental trade agreement to boost intra-African trade.

The Minister for Communication and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, briefed the students about the STEM and Digitalisation drive of Ghana, through its education system.

VISIT

Prof. Hakem Belo-Osagie of Harvard Business School, who led the students, told the president that they had come to learn from his leadership skills.

According to him, the school had resolved to allow students to experience leadership practically, in other parts of the world, and had developed courses on that.

The students that visited Jubilee House were Immersive Field Courses (IFC) students-Ghana. But there is IFC in other countries where other students, some of whom are Ghanaians, are also doing their fieldwork.

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