Ghana's president-elect Nana Akufo-Addo of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) speaks during a news conference at his home in Accra, Ghana, December 9, 2016..
(photo credit: REUTERS/LUC GNAGO)
An Israeli adviser suggested Monday that the victory of Ghana’s opposition leader in the presidential elections over the weekend could be cause for jubilation in Jerusalem, as well as in Accra.
“[President-elect] Nana [Akufo-Addo] is a strong supporter of Israel and I think as president he will be a close supporter of Israel for the Israeli government,” said Adi Timor, CEO of the firm Timor Consulting and adviser to the president- elect. “They have a serious friend in West Africa,” she told The Jerusalem Post.
Timor said Akufo-Addo’s connection to Israel comes from “deep religious [Christian] conviction,” and that she was struck by the numerous expressions of support for Israel she discovered in remote corners of the country she traveled to as she worked on his election campaign over the past year.
She stumbled across “Welcome to Jerusalem” and “Welcome to Israel” signs in villages and on trucks along the road; she even spotted a group of people coming out of a church wearing T-shirts bearing the name of Israel.
In Ghana, it’s a huge advantage to be Israeli, she said, mentioning the warm embrace she and her colleague received from Akufo-Addo’s team and supporters. “They say, ‘When you come here, it’s like the messiah has arrived,’” Timor added.
Timor said that with Netanyahu’s recent push to renew diplomatic relations and economic ties with African countries, she expects Akufo-Addo’s upcoming leadership to play a positive role. “Netanyahu hasn’t yet been to West Africa, and I think Ghana is one of his first stops for sure – especially now with Nana as the president,” she said. “He is a regional key player as well,” she noted, predicting that he – and his approach to Israel – will have an impact on surrounding countries.
Noting that Akufo-Addo was foreign minister for eight years, Simon Davies of Timor Consulting added that the president- elect is a “weighty statesman” who is respected internationally.
“I think you’ll start to see his voice being one of the main moral leadership voices in Africa, as an elder statesman, and I think that will have an impact in international forums,” he said. “Which for Israel is very important,” Timor added, remarking that Israel has not yet made its mark on West Africa.
This is the third time Akufo-Addo has run for president; the last time was in 2012, when he made a trip to Jerusalem and prayed at the Western Wall just before the elections.
According to Timor, he is expected to visit Israel again soon, as president of Ghana. “It will be at the top of his list. He promised to come to Israel as soon as possible,” she said.