Former Vice-President John Dramani Mahama, who has been sworn in as the president of Ghana following the death of John Atta Mills, is regarded as a champion of the underprivileged.
A Christian, Mr Mahama is a respected historian, writer and communications specialist.
He recently published a book, entitled "My First Coup d'Etat", looking at the political problems that have gripped Africa since independence.
Mr Mahama was born at Bole-Bamboi in Ghana's northern region on 29 November 1958.
He spend much of his 20s and 30s studying, including a period in Moscow, and worked for four years as an information officer at the Japanese embassy in Accra.
He joined the non-governmental organisation PLAN International in 1995, working as a sponsorship and grants manager in the Ghana country office.
In December 1996, Mr Mahama was elected to his first term as MP, running on the ticket of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) party.
Mr Mahama served as deputy communication minister from April 1997 to November 1998, stepping up to head the ministry for the following two years.
While communications minister, Mr Mahama also served as the Chairman of the National Communications Authority, and played a key role in stabilising the Ghana telecom sector after deregulation in 1997.
He also served as a member of the Pan African Parliament based in Pretoria, South Africa from 2004 to 2011 where he was Chairman of the West Africa Caucus.
On 7 January 2009, Mr Mahama became Ghana's vice-president, remaining in the post until Mr Atta Mills' death.
He is married to Lordina Mahama and has seven children.