We understand city leaders and believe that the future of Africa depends on their visionary leadership

Africa is experiencing unprecedented urbanisation and growth of its youthful populations. This brings with it serious challenges, but also the potential for transformative change. With bold visions and the right support, African city leaders can set their cities on a trajectory to thrive for generations. They can leave a legacy of vibrant cities that become hubs for economic development, great places to live, and offer new models for sustainable and inclusive growth.

AMALI provides mayors and governors with exclusive, tailored support to hone their visions for their cities through 2 key platforms:

The AMALI City Leadership Programme offers a year-long programme that supports mayors in honing the visions for their cities. The participating mayors gain clarity on the teams and tools required to successfully implement their plans and secure support from their constituents and key stakeholders. The programme will begin with an immersive, four-day leadership Forum at the University of Cape Town.

The AMALI Urban Governance Research Lab provides mayors and other policymakers with the research support and data analytics they need to transform African cities. Mayors participating in the AMALI City Leadership Programme will have access to synthesised data on their cities and will be supported by the lab’s researchers to fill data gaps and analyse interventions tied to their visions.

AdvisorS and Mentors

Jamie Cooper

Co-chair of the AMALI advisory board
Founder and President of Big Win Philanthropy

Edgar Pieterse

Co-chair of the AMALI advisory board
Founding Director of the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town

Arkebe Oqubay

Advisory board member
Senior Minister, Ethiopia; Professor of Practice, SOAS University of London and University of Johannesburg; and Former Mayor of Addis Ababa


Awa Marie Coll Seck

Minister of State to the President of the Republic of Senegal; Former Minister of Health, Senegal




Ebrahim Rasool

Advisory board member
Former Premier of the Western Cape Province, South Africa; Former South African ambassador to the United States of America



Hastings Chikoko

Advisory board member
Managing Director of Regions & Mayoral Engagement and Regional Director for Africa, C40 Cities

James Anderson

Advisory board member
Head of Government Innovation programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies; Former Communications Director to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, United States of America


Kivutha Kibwana

Advisory board member
Former Governor of Makueni County, Kenya; Former Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, Kenya





Luísa Dias Diogo

Advisory board member
Former Prime Minister of Mozambique; Former Deputy Minister of Planning and Finance, and Former Minister of Planning and Finance, Mozambique

Mamphela Ramphele

Advisory board member
Co-president of the Club of Rome; Chair of Desmond Tutu IP Trust; Former Vice Chancellor of University of Cape Town; Former Managing Director at the World Bank

Marty Linsky

Professor at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and a co-founder of Cambridge Leadership Associates, United States of America




Mpho Parks Tau

Advisory board member
Former Mayor of Johannesburg, South Africa; Former Member of the Executive Council in Gauteng Provincial Government, South Africa




Sicily Kariuki

Coach and Facilitator
Former Cabinet Secretary for Water, Sanitation and Irrigation; Former Cabinet Secretary for Health, Kenya

Tri Rismaharini

Advisory board member
Minister of Social Affairs Indonesia; Former Mayor of Surabaya, Indonesia


Vera Songwe

Advisory board member
Chair of the Liquidity and Sustainability Facility; Co-chair of the High-Level Panel on Climate Finance; Former Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa

Wanjira Mathai

Advisory board member
Managing Director, Africa and Global Partnerships, World Resource Institute



Amollo Ambole

AMALI program director
Inaugural program director of AMALI at Big Win Philanthropy; Honorary research associate at the African Centre for Cities


Amy Weimann

Research officer
Research lead – AMALI Urban Governance Research Lab, African Centre for Cities



Babette Safougne

Post-doctoral fellow
Researcher – AMALI Urban Governance Research Lab, African Centre for Cities

Martin Magidi

Post-doctoral fellow
Researcher – AMALI Urban Governance Research Lab, African Centre for Cities



Ulpha Ismail

AMALI project coordinator
African Centre for Cities 




Warren Smit

Research manager
Research manager – AMALI Urban Governance Research Lab, African Centre for Cities




AMALI is a partnership between the African Centre for Cities (ACC) and Big Win Philanthropy.
ACC is an interdisciplinary hub at the University of Cape Town with a mandate to conduct meaningful research on how to understand, recast, and address pressing urban crises. ACC is recognized globally as a leading institution for urban research in Africa with a decade-long track record of promoting a Southern perspective on the future of cities.
Big Win Philanthropy has deep experience developing leadership programs, having co-developed the Harvard Ministerial Leadership Program held at Harvard University, and the Amujae Initiative hosted by the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development. Big Win also provides direct support to heads of state and public leaders across Africa who are pursuing transformational change.