Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas

United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel


Introducing Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Keynote Speaker for the 2020 Ishmael Yamson & Associates Business Roundtable on the theme Leadership, Democracy, Politics, and the Development of Ghana and Africa.

Mr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas was made Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) on 12 February 2016. He held the position of Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa and Head of the UN Office for West Africa since 12 September 2014. His duties include those of Chairman of the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission, and High Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the security situation in North Eastern Nigeria. He was previously the Joint Special representative (JSR) of the African Union – United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and Joint Chief Mediator (JCM) in charge of the Darfur peace negotiations, since April 2013. 

Prior to that, Mr. Chambas was the Secretary General of the African Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP) from March 2010 to March 2013. A prominent African public figure, Mr. Chambas took the office during a critical time for the ACP Group, marked by an uneven recovery across member states from the global financial crisis and an intensified focus on the Group’s future in light of the approaching conclusion of its partnership agreement with the European Union in 2020. He made it a priority to forge closer relations between ACP regions and as a result the ACP was admitted as observer at the Pacific Islands Forum during its 42nd Session of Heads of State and Government in Auckland, New Zealand, in September 2011.

Before his leadership of the ACP, Mr. Chambas served as President of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) from 2007 to 2010. He also served as the Executive Secretary of ECOWAS starting in February 2002, when ECOWAS was a Secretariat.

Earlier to heading the ECOWAS Secretariat, Mr. Chambas was a Member of Parliament in Ghana, where he served at various periods as First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Chairman of the Privileges Committee, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Member of the Select Committee on Education and the Committee on subsidiary Legislation.

Between April 1997 and December 2000, Mr. Chambas was the Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Tertiary Education, overseeing the country’s five universities, ten polytechnics and agencies/institutions charged with the formulation of policies and accreditation for higher education institutions.

Between 1991 and 1996, he was centrally involved in the ECOWAS mediation efforts in Liberia and directly participated in the negotiations leading to the agreements ending the Liberian civil war. Mr. Chambas first entered Government in 1987 as Deputy Foreign Minister of Ghana.

Mr. Chambas holds degrees in Political Science from the University of Ghana, Legon (B. A. 1973) and Cornell University, Ithaca New York (M. A. 1977; PhD 1980) and a law degree from Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, Ohio (J. D. 1984). He has been admitted to practice law in Ghana and the State of Ohio.

A Ghanaian national, Mr. Chambas was born on 7 December 1950.

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