After such an extended period of rule by one person, many were nervous about how the turnover of power would go, but the change went smoothly. Kufuor managed to win the election with the platform of "zero tolerance for corruption." The country had been rife with it before, and so the idea was appealing to many. The country was also doing poorly economically, mostly because of such corruption, and people were ready for a change. Kufuor was nicknamed the "gentle giant" because he was tall—at six feet, three inches—and quiet, and yet he seemed to instill confidence in those he was to lead.
In 2001 Kufuor made his first trip to the United States as president of Ghana. He went there to take part in the United Nations General Assembly special session on HIV/AIDS. He attended a luncheon set up to establish links between Ghana and black American business leaders, with the goal of forging links that would help his country in the future.