At least so far, what plagues Africa is less Covid-19, than its consequences: collapsed economies, an industrial world that is closing to Africa, a deceleration (if not reversal) in globalization, a new “Cold War” (this time between China and the West), severe climate change, and the urgent need to grow and develop faster to serve its young, demanding population.
How can Africa cope? Are solutions—or, at least, possibilities—to be found at the local, national or regional level? Where is the needed capital?
Looking for answers, Alan Stoga talks to Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, mayor of Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown, and Carole Wainaina, a leader of Africa50, a public, pan-African infrastructure bank.
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Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE was sworn in May 2018 with a commitment to transform Freetown using an inclusive, data-driven approach to address challenges in the city. The 3-year Transform Freetown plan details 19 concrete targets across 11 sectors and covers issues ranging from tackling environmental degradation to facilitating the creation of jobs in the tourism sector.
A finance professional with over 25 years of private sector experience in strategic planning, risk management consulting and project management, Mayor Aki-Sawyerr’s public sector engagement began with her work during the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic and her subsequent role as Delivery Team Lead for the second phase of a multi-stakeholder programme to drive socio-economic recovery in Sierra Leone post Ebola. Mayor Aki-Sawyerr is a Chartered Accountant and holds an MSc in Politics of the World Economy from the London School of Economics and a BSc Hons in Economics from Fourah Bay College.
Carole Wainaina is a leader of Africa50, the pan-African infrastructure investment platform capitalized by the African Development Bank, 28 African countries and two African Central Banks based in Casablanca. She is a well-respected senior executive with global experience in the private and public sectors at senior levels, including strategy formulation, leading multi-disciplinary teams, and driving organizational change.
Before joining Africa50, she served as the Assistant Secretary General for Human Resources at the United Nations from 2014-2017, leading transformational initiatives for the Secretary General and member states. Prior to joining the United Nations, Ms. Wainaina held senior positions for more than two decades at multinational corporations in Turkey, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Kenya. She served for three years on the Executive Committee of Royal Philips in the Netherlands as Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer. She worked for 13 years at the Coca-Cola Company in senior roles, including Chief of Staff for the Global Chairman & CEO as well as President of the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation. She started her career as a management consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers.