Ibrahim F.I. Shihata was born on August 19, 1937 in Damietta, a small town of Lower Egypt on the Mediterranean coast. He studied law at Cairo University and began his career as a member of the Egyptian Conseil d’Etat and also served as a member of the Technical Bureau of the President of the United Arab Republic of Egypt. He later moved to the United States and obtained his doctorate from Harvard Law School in 1964. Upon returning to Egypt, he joined the faculty of the Ain-Shams University, Cairo, where he taught international law in 1964-1966 and 1970-1972.

In 1966, he became the legal advisor of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. In this role, Mr. Shihata was the principal drafter of the constituent treaties of several regional development finance institutions, such as the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Inter-Arab Investment Guarantee Corporation, and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa. Mr. Shihata was also the main drafter of the Agreement establishing the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID). He served as the first Director-General of OFID, and under his guidance, this initially temporary development assistance facility was transformed into a permanent institution. Mr. Shihata also served as the chairman of the committee which wrote the Agreement that created the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). He subsequently became a member of IFAD’s Board of the Executive Directors.

Mr. Shihata married Samia Farid Shihata, and two of their three children followed his footsteps and became lawyers. Their third child is a journalist and editor.