Kwame Nkrumah was a Ghanaian politician, political theorist, and revolutionary. He was Ghana’s first Prime Minister and President, having led the Gold Coast to independence from Britain in 1957.
Read about the emergence of Ghana from the Gold Coast here
As an influential advocate of Pan-Africanism, Nkrumah was a founding member of the Organization of African Unity. He also was the winner of the Lenin Peace Prize from the Soviet Union in 1962.
Nkrumah spent twelve years abroad pursuing higher education, developing his political philosophy, and organizing with other diasporic pan-Africanists.
Upon his return to Gold Coast, Nkrumah began his political career as an advocate of national independence.
He formed the Convention People’s Party, which achieved rapid success through its unprecedented appeal to the common voter. He became Prime Minister in 1952 and retained the position when Ghana declared independence from Britain in 1957. In 1960, Ghanaians approved a new constitution and elected Kwame Nkrumah as President.
His administration was primarily socialist as well as nationalist. It funded national industrial and energy projects, developed a strong national education system and promoted a pan-Africanist culture.
Under Nkrumah, Ghana played a leading role in African international relations during the decolonization period.
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In 1964, a constitutional amendment made Ghana a one-party state, with Nkrumah as president for the life of both the nation and its party.
The National Liberation Council (NLC) overthrown Kwame Nkrumah in 1966. Under the NLC supervision, international financial institutions privatized several of the country’s public corporations.
Nkrumah spent the remaining years in Guinea, where he was appointed honorary co-president. Kwame died on the 27th April 1972.