Mourning the Death of President John Atta Mills (1944-2012)

Ghana’s President, John Atta Mills recently died unexpectedly at age 68.  Born on July, 21 1944 at Tarkwa in western Ghana, President Mills graduated with a law degree from the University of Ghana in 1967 before studying further at the London School of Economics and earning a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies. He was also a Fulbright scholar at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.

Vice President John Mahama was sworn in only hours after Mills passed away, underscoring the West African nation’s stability in a part of the world where the deaths of other leaders have sparked violence. President Mills had ruled Ghana since 2009 and was slated to seek re-election in December.

Ghana, which has posted strong growth in recent years, is seen as a beacon of democracy in West Africa.  Ghana’s main export is cocoa, but the country began oil production two years ago.  President Mills was well loved and respected by the people of Ghana and was seen as a catalyst in Ghana’s economic progress.