Kofi Abrefa Busia (11 July 1913 – 28 August 1978) was Prime Minister of Ghana from 1969 to 1972.
K. A. Busia was born a prince in the kingdom of Wenchi, a part of the Ashanti Confederacy, one of the four Gold Coast Territories, then under British rule and now called Ghana. He was educated at Methodist School, Wenchi, Mfantsipim School, Cape Coast, then at Wesley College, Kumasi, from 1931 to 1932. He later became a teacher at Achimota School. He gained his first degree with Honours in Medieval and Modern History from the University of London, through correspondence during this period. He then went on to study at University College, Oxford, where he was the college's first African student. He took a BA (Hons) in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (1941, MA) 1946) and a DPhil in Social Anthropology in 1947, with a thesis entitled "The position of the chief in the modern political system of Ashanti: a study of the influence of contemporary social changes on Ashanti political institutions."
He served as a district commissioner from 1942 to 1949, and was appointed first lecturer in African Studies. He became the first African to occupy a Chair at the University College of the Gold Coast (now the University of Ghana). In 1951 he was elected by the Ashanti Confederacy to the Legislative Council. In 1952 he was Leader of Ghana Congress Party, which later merged with the other opposition parties to form the United Party (UP).
As leader of the opposition against Kwame Nkrumah, he fled the country on the grounds that his life was under threat. In 1959 Busia became a Professor of Sociology and Culture of Africa at the University of Leiden near the Hague, Netherlands. From 1962 until 1969 he was a Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford.
He returned to Ghana in March 1966 after Nkrumah's government was overthrown by the military, and was appointed as the Chairman of the National Advisory Committee of the NLC. In 1967/68 he served as the Chairman of the Centre for Civic Education. He used this opportunity and sold himself as the next Leader. He also was a Member of the Constitutional Review Committee. When the NLC lifted the ban on politics, Busia, together with friends in the defunct UP formed the Progress Party (PP).
In 1969, the PP won the parliamentary elections with 104 of the 105 seats contested. This paved the way for him to become the next Prime Minister. Busia continued with NLC's anti-Nkrumaist stance and adopted a liberalised economic system. There was a mass deportation of half a million Nigerian citizens from Ghana, and a 44 percent devaluation of the cedi in 1971, which met with a lot of resistance from the public.
While he was in Britain for a medical check-up, the army under Colonel Ignatius Kutu Acheampong overthrew his government on 13 January 1972. Busia died from a heart attack in 1978.
Along with J. B. Danquah and S. D. Dombo, Busia's name is associated with Ghana's political right. The New Patriotic Party has claimed the Danquah-Busia-Dombo mantle in the Fourth Republic.
The actress and author Akosua Busia is his daughter.
The Position of the Chief in the Modern Political System of Ashanti. London, 1951 (Orig. Dissertation Oxford)
The Sociology and Culture of Africa. Leiden, 1960
The Challenge of Africa. New York, 1962
Purposeful Education for Africa. The Hague, 1964
Urban Churches in Britain. London, 1966
Africa in Search of Democracy. London, 1967