Ghanaian President John Atta Mills Dies at 68

Posted July 24th, 2012 at 2:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Ghanaian President John Atta Mills, who died Tuesday, oversaw a generally peaceful and prosperous time for his country during his one term in office.

Mr. Mills became the country's third democratically-elected president in 2009 after defeating ruling party candidate Nana Akufo-Addo in a run-off election.

In July 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama visited Ghana and proclaimed the country a model for other African countries.

Eighteen months later, Mr. Mills turned the valves at a ceremony marking Ghana's new status as an oil-producing nation. The oil fueled economic growth of more than 16 percent in 2011, though analysts warned that oil production could have harmful effects, as it has in other African countries.

Mr. Mills was born July 21, 1944 in Ekumfi Otuam in Ghana's Central Region.

Before his political career, he was an accomplished scholar receiving both a bachelors and law degree from the University of Ghana, a doctorate from the University of London, and the prestigious Fulbright scholarship to Stanford University in the United States.

Mr. Mills served as Ghana's vice president during the administration of Jerry Rawlings from 1997 to 2000.

He had been nominated by the ruling party to run for president again in an election expected later this year.

The president leaves behind a wife and a son.