Mohamed Ibn Chambas

Mohamed Ibn Chambas

His Excellency, Dr.
Mohamed Ibn Chambas
Mohamed Ibn Chambas receives a diplomatic delegation from the United States Africa Command led by Robert T. Moeller at ECOWAS headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria, 28 November 2007.
8th Secretary-general of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States
Assumed office
1 March 2010
Preceded by Sir John Kaputin
1stPresident of the ECOWAS Commission
In office
Personal details
Born (1950-12-07) 7 December 1950
Nationality Ghanaian
Political party National Democratic Congress
Spouse(s) Khadija Ibn Chambas
Children 2 (daughter, son)
Residence Abuja, Nigeria
Alma mater University of Ghana (B.A. 1973)
Cornell University (M.A. 1977, PhD 1980)
Case Western Reserve University (J. D. 1984)
Occupation Lawyer, Lecturer, School Administrator
Religion Islam

Mohamed Ibn Chambas (born 7 December 1950 in Ghana) is a lawyer, diplomat, politician and academic from Ghana. In 2002 he became the Executive Secretary of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). In 2007, he was appointed the group's first President by the governments of its member states, serving a four-year term. Mohamed Ibn Chambas was appointed Secretary General of the ACP Group on 16 November 2009.


  • Education 1
  • Career 2
    • Deputy Foreign Secretary 2.1
    • MP 1993–1996 2.2
    • Civil War mediator 2.3
    • Deputy Minister of Education 2.4
    • Return to parliament 2.5
  • ECOWAS 3
  • United Nations 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


He attended Mfantsipim School, Cape Coast, and Government Secondary School, now Tamale Secondary School Tamale. He holds degrees in Political Science from University of Ghana, Legon (B.A. 1973) and Cornell University Ithaca, New York (M.A. 1977, PhD 1980). He has a law degree from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. He was admitted to practice law in Ghana and the State of Ohio.


His working in the United States includes teaching at Oberlin College, Ohio, and practising law with the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and the Cleveland, Ohio, Law Office of Forbes, Forbes and Teamor. He returned to Ghana, where he became a school administrator.

Deputy Foreign Secretary

Chambas first entered government in 1987 as Deputy Foreign Secretary of Ghana. He was a member of the Head of State's summit delegations to a number of countries, including the US, China, UK, France, Malaysia, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe. He led Ghana's delegation to the UN General Assembly, ministerial meetings of the OAU and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Commonwealth.

MP 1993–1996

He served as MP for Bimbilla from 1993 to 1996 on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress. He was First Deputy Speaker of the Ghanaian Parliament (1993–1994), and thereafter was appointed Deputy Foreign Minister. As First Deputy Speaker, he was Chairman of the Appointments and Privileges Committees of Parliament. In 1993–94, he chaired the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament with oversight responsibility for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Civil War mediator

Chambas came to international importance as mediator between the parties of the First Liberian Civil War of the 1990s, and later the Ivorian Civil War in the early 2000s. Centrally involved in the ECOWAS mediation efforts in Liberia, he directly participated in negotiations leading to the agreements ending the Liberian civil war. In the interim, Chambas lost his Parliamentary seat in 1996, and the then government of President Jerry Rawlings removed him from the foreign ministry and put him in charge of Ghana's primary education system.[1]

Deputy Minister of Education

Between April 1997 and December 2000, Chambas was appointed the Deputy Minister of Education in charge of tertiary education. In that capacity, he had direct responsibility for the country's five universities, 10 polytechnics and agencies/institutions charged with formulation of policies on higher education, accreditation and maintenance of standards in tertiary institutions. Dr Chambas was involved in reform of tertiary education which included diversification of funding, cost sharing, the introduction of the Ghana Education Trust Fund, aimed to improve the quality and financial standing of tertiary institutions. He also led negotiations and conflict resolution processes during student protests and industrial disputes involving university and polytechnic teachers and other staff members. Chambas was at the time suggested in the Ghanaian press as a candidate for the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Return to parliament

Regaining his seat in 2000, He was also a member of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, which worked to facilitate a transition to constitutional democratic governance in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and the Gambia.

Reelected on 7 December 2000 on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress. Shortly thereafter, he was nominated to head ECOWAS by Ghanaian President John Kufuor.[1] In 2002, he was the Ranking Member on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Minority National Democratic Congress. He was also a member of the Select Committee on Education and the Committee on Subsidiary legislation.


In 2001, Chambas was elected as the Executive Secretary of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS),[2] and acceded to the office on 1 February 2002. As Executive Secretary of ECOWAS, he was chief executive of the 15-person Executive Secretariat of the international organisation from 2002 to 2006.

United Nations

On 20 December 2012, Chambas was appointed as Joint Special Representative for Darfur and Head of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. He succeeds Ibrahim Gambari of Nigeria.[3] On 12 September 2014, he was appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA).[4]


  1. ^ a b Profile: Mohammed ibn Chambas, BBC, Friday, 4 October 2002.
  2. ^ Ibn Chambas is new ECOWAS Executive Sec. GNA News, Friday, 21 Dec 2001.
  3. ^ Secretary-General and African Union Commission Chairperson appoint Mohamed Ibn Chambas of Ghana Joint Special Representative for Darfur. UN Press Release, 20 Dec 2012.
  4. ^ Secretary-General appoints Mohamed Ibn Chambas of Ghana Special Representative for West Africa. UN Press Release, 12 September 2014.

External links

  • Biographical profile at Ghanaweb.
  • Biographical profile at the Website of the Office of the Presidency, Economic Community of West African States.
  • Irin Interview With Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Executive Secretary Of ECOWAS, U.N. Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN), Tuesday 12 March 2002.
  • Mohamed Ibn Chambas at IMDB
  • Chambas in Motherland Documentary
Parliament of Ghana
New title Member of Parliament for Bimbilla
Succeeded by
Mpambi Dagmanyi
Preceded by
Mpambi Dagmanyi
Member of Parliament for Bimbilla
Succeeded by
Dominc Aduna Bingab Nitiwul1
Political offices
Preceded by
Lansana Kouyaté
Executive Secretary of the Economic
Community of West African States

Succeeded by
Post ended
New title President of the ECOWAS Commission
2007 –2010
Succeeded by
Victor Gbeho
Preceded by
John Kaputin
Secretary-General of the ACP Group of States
2010 –2012
Succeeded by
Muhammad Mumuni2
Notes and references
1. NPP Wins Bimbilla Bye-Elections
2. ECOWAS endorse Mumuni as General-Secretary of ACP