AMALI launches inaugural advisory board, bringing together visionary leaders in city leadership and urban development.

We are delighted to announce the launch of our advisory board, which includes former mayors, senior government leaders, and experts who have led transformational developments across Africa. These leaders recently gathered for an inaugural board meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, during which they discussed the strategy for AMALI and refined our approach to support Africa’s mayors in transforming their cities through visionary leadership.

In their inaugural meeting, the advisory board members, led by co-chairs Jamie Cooper, Chair and President of Big Win, and Edgar Pieterse, Founding Director of ACC, discussed the role that AMALI will play in supporting the transformation of African cities.

Board members and former mayors Arkebe Oqubay (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) and Parks Tau (Johannesburg, South Africa) offered insights from their experience to help ensure that AMALI’s strategy addresses the unique needs of city leaders in Africa. Arkebe Oqubay said:

“Mayors are at the heart of changing every aspect of people’s lives in cities. Employment creation, improving urban governance, and transformation of cities are core priorities for the legacy of successful African mayors. Hence, we must put maximum effort into developing the leadership capability of African mayors.”

The meeting also saw other former mayors share inspiration from their personal leadership journeys. Former Mayor of Medellin, Colombia, Sergio Fajardo shared how he walked the streets of his city, speaking directly with citizens. This bold move helped him build trust and bolstered his effort to transform Medellin from a city of fear to one of hope. Former Mayor Tri Rismaharini shared her inspirational journey of transforming Surabaya, Indonesia into a green, liveable city.

Co-chair Jamie Cooper highlighted the calibre and expertise of the board and the invaluable insight they will provide to the first cohort of city leaders set to join the program in November:

“Our research and experience in pioneering transformative leadership initiatives show that mayors and city leaders are best placed to effect lasting change in cities across the African continent. Our board members understand this first-hand, having led bold, game-changing urban development initiatives. I look forward to seeing how they engage with—and inspire—our first cohort of city leaders.”

Over the coming months, the board will continue to work towards the inaugural AMALI City Leadership Forum, due to take place in January 2023. The Forum will bring up to 20 mayors from across the African continent together for a four-day event at the University of Cape Town focused on transformative city leadership, peer-learning with fellow mayors, and mentorship support from AMALI advisors.

Co-chair Edgar Pieterse asserts that:

The mayors are in for a real treat. We have put together a world-class challenging and stimulating curriculum that will ensure no one leaves the forum the same person as when they arrive. The mayors will have the space to go deep with their peers and be exposed to the latest thinking and tools on what transformative city leadership means in the African context.