Ghana’s new President Nana Akufo-Addo during his swearing-in on Saturday pledged to cut taxes to boost the economy, whilst also promising to protect the public purse by getting value for money on services, Reuters has reported.

Akufo-Addo, 72, defeated incumbent John Dramani Mahama in peaceful elections a month ago, a rare peaceful transfer of power in a region plagued by political crises.

The major cocoa and gold exporter is half-way through a three-year aid programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to fix an economy dogged by high public debt and inflation.

It is not clear how the new president will be able to cut taxes and still stick to an IMF austerity plan that was a condition of a $918 million bailout.

“We will reduce taxes to recover the momentum of our economy,” said Akufo-Addo, wrapped in a traditional kaleidoscopic “kente” robe. “Ghana is open for business again.”

At the venue for the inauguration in Black Star Square, thousands of Ghanaians also draped in traditional kente garments clapped. Outside the perimeters, revellers drummed and danced.