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Published: Wednesday July 16, 2014 MYT 5:55:02 PM
Updated: Wednesday July 16, 2014 MYT 5:56:41 PM

Ghana president names new defence minister in cabinet reshuffle

Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama speaks during a session at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos January 22, 2014.                  REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama speaks during a session at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos January 22, 2014. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

ACCRA (Reuters) - Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama on Wednesday appointed a new defence minister in a cabinet reshuffle which also saw the dismissal of the interior and agriculture ministers but left other key portfolios unchanged.

No reason was give for the cabinet shake-up, the first since Mahama took office in January last year after winning the West African nation's December 2012 presidential election.

The president is under pressure to turn around the economy of the cocoa-, oil- and gold-producing nation, once regarded as one of Africa's hottest frontier markets but saddled with high inflation and a stubbornly wide government deficit.

Benjamin Bewa-Nyog Kunbour, majority leader in parliament and a former attorney-general, replaced Defence Minister Mark Woyongo who has been moved to the interior ministry, a presidency statement said

Fiifi Kwetey, minister of state at the presidency, was named agriculture minister to replace Kofi Humado.

The key ministers of foreign affairs, finance, and energy and petroleum were retained.

Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, a former head of Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation was appointed as Trade Minister.

Sports minister Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, who was removed last month after Ghana's football team crashed out of the World Cup, was reassigned to the president's office as minister of state, according to the statement.

Mahama also realigned parts of the government structure and merged some ministries.

(Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Bate Felix; editing by Ralph Boulton)

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