H.E. James Victor Gbeho, former President of ECOWAS Commission
Ambassador James Victor Gbeho was born in Keta, in the Volta Region of Ghana. He was educated at Achimota Secondary School and the University College of Ghana, Legon, which was then affiliated with London University in the UK. He graduated in 1959 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, History and Philosophy.
Ambassador Gbeho joined what was then known as the Ghana Foreign and Commonwealth Service in the same year for a career in his country’s Foreign Service. He served thereafter in various capacities at Ghana’s Diplomatic Missions abroad as well as in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ghana in between postings abroad. The Missions include those in China, India, Nigeria, New York, Federal Republic of Germany/West Germany, United Kingdom, Ghana Permanent Mission to the United Nations European Offices in Geneva, Ghana’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York as well as the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General to Somalia (UNISOMII).
Ambassador Gbeho’s posting to the U.K (1972-1976 was as his country’s Deputy High Commissioner at the Court of St James. He was appointed Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the European Offices of the United Nations in Geneva while the tenure in New York (1980-1990) was as Ghana’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations.
During Ambassador Gbeho’s tenure in Geneva he played a key role in the negotiations leading to the establishment of the UNCTAD’s COMMON FUND FOR COMMODITIES. He was both the spokesman of the African Group and later, Chairman of the Fund’s, Preparatory Committee which finally brought the Fund into being. He was also elected Chairman of the Committee on Economic Co-operation among Developing Countries (ECDC) at UNCTAD V held in Manila in 1979 in Manila.
Ambassador James Victor Gbeho was appointed Ghana’s Permanent Representative at the U.N in New York in 1980. During the next 10 years in that position, he held many posts in the U.N. General Assembly. He was inter alia Chairman of the following:
First Committee (Political)
Fourth Committee (Decolonization)
Special Political Committee
Disarmament Committee as well as member of the Special Committee against Apartheid, as well as Chairman of its the Sub-Committee Against Apartheid in Sports. He was concurrently accredited until 1983 to Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.
Ambassador James Victor Gbeho was elected on to the United Nations Security Council from 1986 to December 1987. During this period, he was twice President of the Council while it grappled with the serious and delicate issues of the Iran – Iraq War and the decolonization of South-West Africa (Namibia).
He returned to Ghana in 1990 and was immediately appointed the Head of the Non-Aligned Movement Secretariat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the mandate to prepare the country for the hosting of the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Accra in August, 1991.
After a brief service thereafter as Director of State Protocol and also Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Accra, Ambassador Gbeho was appointed the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Somalia (UNISOM II) from 1994 to 1995. This was followed by his appointment as the Special Representative of the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) in Liberia from 1995 to 1996. In Liberia, he exercised political oversight and responsibility necessary for the implementation of the Agreements reached at the earlier Akosombo and Accra talks for the return of peace to war-torn Liberia. It was in this capacity that Ambassador Gbeho led the Ecowas Commission Team that negotiated the Status of Forces Agreement with the Liberian Government under the leadership of Charles G. Taylor in 1996.
In December, 1997, Ambassador Gbeho became the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Ghana after a brief service in the same year as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Ambassador Gbeho has also served on or led many delegations of Ghana to Sessions of the United Nations General Assembly, Summit Meetings of the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM), Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), Non-Aligned Movement’s Summit and Ministerial Meetings. He has attended and still attends several Ministerial and Summit Meetings of the Organization of African Unity (OAU)/African Union (AU), and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
On leaving office in 2001, after his political party lost the General Elections, Ambassador Gbeho was elected Member of Parliament for the Anlo Constituency, in which capacity he served until 2004. During this period, he also served intermittently as Special Envoy/Observer of the UN Secretary –General to The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau for special peace-building assignments.
From 2005 to 2008, Ambassador Gbeho worked, on occasion, in the offices of Flt-lt. Jerry John Rawlings as the former President’s Special Assistant as well as a Foreign Affairs Consultant. When his political party regained Government in 2009, he was appointed Special Adviser to the President on Foreign Affairs.
Ambassador Gbeho was appointed President of the Ecowas Commission in February 2010, a position he occupied until the end of his tenure in March, 2012.
Amb. James Victor Gbeho has been the President of the Millennium Excellence Foundation since the year 2010