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Meet the eight female ministers in Akufo-Addo’s second term

A total of eight women have been appointed to head various ministries in President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s second term.

The ministers include Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey (Foreign Affairs), Ursula Owusu-Ekuful (Communication and Digitisation), Mavis Hawa Koomson (Fisheries and Aquaculture, Cecilia Abena Dapaah (Sanitation and Water Resources), Sarah Adwoa Safo (Gender, Children and Social Protection) and Freda Prempeh (Minister of State in charge of Works and Housing).

Two others — Justina Marigold Assan and Justina Owusu-Banahene have been nominated as Ministers for the Central and Bono Regions respectively.

The list is, however, one less than the nine female ministers the president appointed in his first term from 2017 to 2019.

With some of the female ministers losing their seats, it probably explains why the president’s hands may be tied as he is expected to satisfy a constitutional provision that requires him to appoint the majority of his ministers from Parliament and at the same time satisfy regional balance demands.

Three of the President’s appointees Catherine Afeku Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts (MP for Evalue Gwira Ajomoro); Alima Mahama of Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MP, Nareligu)  and Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye (MP, Krowor), have been affected.

In all, President Akufo-Addo has appointed 30 Ministers and 16 Regional Ministers, bringing the total number of ministers to 46.

The president has, however, assured he will not to appoint more than 85 ministers in his second term in office.

The names of the appointees have been submitted to Parliament for vetting and approval.

Below are the women appointees

Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

Ms Botchwey has been retained as the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration. She was appointed as the sector minister on January 10, 2017.

The four-term MP, who voluntarily decided not to take another shot at lawmaking, was the legislator for Anyaa Sowutuom.

The sector minister has served on various committees in Parliament including the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, Appointments, Defence and Interior Committees of Parliament.

She is a product of the University of Ghana Business School, the Ghana Institute of Journalism, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration and the Pitman’s Central College, Universities of London and Westminster, all in the UK.

Madam Botchwey holds an Executive MBA, Project Management option, Masters in Public Communication, a Bachelor of Law degree, a diploma in Public Relations and Advertising.

Before entering into frontline politics, she ran a successful marketing and communications company where she was a consultant for the Ministry of Tourism.

She worked in former President John Agyekum Kufour’s administration as a deputy Minister for the Foreign Affairs, Information, as well as the Trade and Industry ministries.

One of the key contributions of the ministry, was to see to the rescue of some black African,  including immigrants in Libya in November 2017. The ministry’s consular officers in Valetta, Malta were dispatched to Tripoli to rescue 168 Ghanaian detainees.

The ministry has constructed passport application centres across the country, including Wa in the Upper West Region, Tamale in the Northern Region and Cape Coast in the Central Region.

There’s also been a number of bilateral agreements between Ghana and many countries, including Switzerland, Germany, Rwanda, Egypt and Belgium.

The sector ministry also partnered the Tourism Ministry when the country was announced the year of return in 2019. A programme which drew many tourists to the country.

The biggest feat has been the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

But her tenure was not without controversy.

In December 2018, Parliament froze the purchase of two landed properties of Ghana’s Embassy in Oslo, Norway.

It followed an allegation by the Minority that the GH¢12.2 million facility, which consists of a chancery and residence was over-priced.

The century old building, according to the Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwah, who raised the issue on the floor of the House, cost a previous buyer, Lilian Olsson, US$2,930,098.38, in 2014.

  • Ursula Owusu Ekuful

Ms Owusu-Ekuful has also been retained in her ministry. She has been given an additional responsibility, as her ministry has an extra duty to lead Ghana’s digitisation efforts. It will now be known as the Communications and Digitalisation Ministry.

She has been the Member of Parliament for the Ablekuma West Constituency since 2012. Before that, she worked for 10 years as an Associate Attorney and was the acting Managing Director of Western Tele-systems.

Mrs Owusu- Ekuful also worked as the Corporate and External Affairs Director, ZAIN Ghana from April 2008 to January 2009.

She served as Chairperson for the Social Development sector committee in the run-up to the December 7, 2016, elections.

The sector minister holds a certificate in Government Integrity from the International Law Institute and a Masters in Conflict Peace and Security from the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre.

Under her leadership, Ghana signed a partnership with the International Telecommunication Union, the Norwegian government to support the digital transformation centre initiative in Ghana.

The partnership provided around 14, 000 citizens with job-ready digital skills through 200 centres across the country.

It was her ministry that enforced the provisions of the Electronic Communications (EC) Act 2008 and the National Telecommunications Policy to regulate the telecommunication sector.

Also, the ministry rolled out its rural telephony project to provide data and voice connectivity to 2,016 rural telephony sites strategically located in underserved and unserved communities across the country.

Her partnership with the cybercrime unit Ghana Police Service saw the arrest of some illegal pornographic website, including empressleak.com administrator, Anderson Ofosu Hene Amin.

As the country battled the coronavirus pandemic, the ministry introduced the Ghana COVID-19 tracker to the public to have more insights about the novel virus.

To also prevent the spread of the virus, the ministry introduced the digital payment structure to make the transaction more efficient, secure, convenient as it targets a more cash-lite society.

The ministry also introduced a policy to address glaring disparities in market and revenue share to ensure a level-playing field for all network operators within the country’s telecom industry. But MTN went to court insisting the policy was unjustified in a free market environment.

But the implementation of a common platform for the telecommunication traffic, monitoring through a company known as Kelni GVG drew the ire of civil society organisations, including IMANI.

But the minister rebuffed value for money issues as well the fear of privacy intrusion raised by the telecom operators.

 

  • Mavis Hawa Koomson

Madam Koomson, who is the former Special Initiatives Minister now heads the Fisheries Ministry. She is the Member of Parliament for Awutu Senya East Constituency.

She was appointed by President Akuffo-Addo on 10 January 2017 as Minister of Special Development Initiatives but now in charge of a different ministry.

She holds a diploma and a bachelor’s degree in Basic Education from the University Education, Winneba. She also has a masters, postgraduate diploma in public administration from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).

A teacher by profession, Madam Koomson has occupied various positions including head teacher, assistant superintendent and Principal superintendent. She was also president of Gender Unit of the Ghana National Association of Teachers Ladies Association (GNATLAS) Sekondi-Takoradi in the Western Region.

Some notable achievements by the ministry include the construction of warehouses at Nkwaeso in Techiman in the Bono East Region.

She led the one constituency, one ambulance and one village, one dam initiatives.

But she came under fire for firing a weapon at a registration centre at Kasoa during the registration exercise. Her excuse was that it was for self-defence.

  • Cecilia Abena Dapaah

Tasked to make Accra the cleanest city in the country, Madam Dapaah has been given four more years to bring the dream to fruition. She still heads the Sanitation and Water Resources Ministry.

She is a former Member of Parliament for the Bantama constituency.

Madam Dapaah previously served as the deputy Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing.

She attended the University of Ghana and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and linguistics in 1979.

She holds a certificate in leadership from the Harvard Kennedy School and a postgraduate certificate in International Development Studies from the University of Oslo.

In 2001, she was appointed the Chairperson of the Board of Ghana Cocoa Processing Company. She was moved from the board in 2005 and made the deputy Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing.

She served on various parliamentary committees including Works and Housing; Advisory Committee to the Speaker of the Parliament; Employment, Social welfare and Youth; Foreign Affairs; and Special Budget.

Apart from policy direction, some of the notable achievements of the ministry were to support 42, 000 households with toilet facilities, 150 schools with healthcare sanitation facilities. A number of streets in Accra also had waste bins.

But many say her inability to rid some of the country’s major cities including Accra off filth as a major shortfall.

  • Sarah Adwoa Safo

The former Minister of State responsible for Procurement, Sarah Adwoa Safo, now heads the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection. She took over from Cynthia Mamle Morrison.

Madam Safo is the Member of Parliament for Dome Kwabenya.

She has been an active member of Ghana’s Parliament since 2013. She is currently the first woman Deputy Majority Leader.

She was the founding legal officer of the Public Procurement Authority of Ghana and played a leading role in setting up the Appeals and Complaints Panel.

Madam Safo worked with the Legal Aid Board to mediate cases. She was a practising lawyer, with 14 years of experience.

She holds a Master’s Degree in Government Procurement Law from the George Washington University Law School. Prior to that, Adwoa Safo earned degrees in law at the Ghana School of Law.

Her work was mostly out of the public eye as the Minister of State in charge of Procurement. Her most visible presence in the public space was her work a Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament.

She was heavily criticised for failing her oversight role when the CEO of the Public Procurement Authority was caught neck-deep in a contract for sale scandal in which he awarded contracts to his private company which was then sold out.

  • Freda Prempeh 

Madam Prempeh has been nominated as Minister of State-Designate for Works and Housing.

She is the Member of Parliament for Tano-North constituency, a former deputy Minister for Works and Housing and served as the Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection in President Akufo-Addo’s first term.

She obtained her degree in Business Administration from the University of Ghana. She also has a masters in marketing, a second masters in Media and Public Relations.

Madam Prempeh has been a gender activist for years and founder of “The Ultimate Woman”

She served on various committees in Parliament — Women and Children sub-committee and Development Planning sub-committee.

Prior to becoming an MP, she worked with the prison service for ten years. She also served on the National Reconciliation Commission as a Public Affairs Officer in 2006.

The inability of the government to open up the Saglemi Housing project after almost four years of auditing remains a blot on her record.

  • Justina Marigold Assan

Madam Assan is currently the Central Regional Minister. She was appointed as the Municipal Chief Executive for Agona West Municipal Assembly on May 5, 2017.

Prior to her appointment as the MCE, she taught for about 18 years and rose to the position of Head of Home Economics Department at the Obrachire Senior High Technical School in the Central Region.

She held various positions in the New Patriotic Party at both constituency and regional level in the Central Region.

  • Justina Owusu-Banahene

Ms Banahene is the Bono Regional Minister nominee. She is the Sunyani Municipal Chief Executive.

Below is the full list of ministers

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