Prof Edgar Pieterse

Director, African Centre for Cities

Professor Edgar Pieterse is founding director of the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town. His research and teaching gravitate around urban development politics, everyday culture, publics, radical social economies, responsive design and adaptive governance systems. He publishes different kinds of text, curates’ exhibitions and difficult conversations about pressing urban problems. He is consulting editor for Cityscapes—an international occasional magazine on urbanism in the global South. His books, City Futures (Zed, 2008) and New Urban Worlds (Polity, 2017) are regarded as key reference points for both theoretical and applied discourses on cities in Africa and the global South more broadly. Between the appearance of these two books, he co-edited a further six books during the last decade, dealing with a wide-ranging set of topics related to contemporary urbanism and place-making.

In light of his academic achievements and global standing, he has been asked to serve on various research advisory boards of leading urban research centres: LSE Cities (London); Indian Institute for Human Settlements (Bangalore); Gauteng City-region Observatory (Johannesburg); The Global Cities Programme of CIDOB – Barcelona Centre for International Affairs; Pathways to Sustainability – Utrecht University; the World Economic Forum: Shaping the Future of Urban Development and Services Initiative; and the Coalition for Urban Transitions (London). Furthermore, he is co-lead author of the Urban Chapter of the report of the International Panel on Social Progress. In the African context, Edgar has been central to the growth of two key pan-African knowledge networks: Association of African Planning Schools (57 schools in 18 countries) and the African Urban Research Initiative (18 institutions in 16 countries); both are anchored in the African Centre for Cities.

Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr

Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone

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 degradationto facilitating the creation of jobs in the tourism sector. Afinance 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.

Gil (Guillermo) Penalosa, MBA, PhDhc, CSP

8 80 Cities Founder & Chair
World Urban Parks Ambassador
Gil Penalosa & Assoc. President

Gil Penalosa is passionate about creating vibrant and healthy cities for all people. Because of his unique blend of experience, pragmatism and passion, cities and organizations worldwide have invited him to work in over 350 different cities in all continents.
Gil is the founder and chair of the internationally recognized Canadian non-profit organization 8 80 Cities. He is also first Ambassador of World Urban Parks.
Before immigrating to Canada, Gil was Commissioner in Bogota where he led the construction of over 200 parks and development of new Ciclovia which has turned into the world’s largest temporary park and where each Sunday 1 of 4 citizens walk, run, bike, and enjoy each others company. He holds an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, where he recently was selected as one of the “100 Most Inspirational Alumni” in the school’s history. Gil
received a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the Faculty of Urban Planning at the prominent University in Sweden, SLU. Last year Gil was listed in Planetizen’s Top 100 Most Influential Urbanists and recently received in Australia the World Urban Parks Annual Distinguished Individual Award.

Prof Davis Mwamfupe

Mayor of Dodoma, the Capital City of The United Republic of Tanzania

Davis George Mwamfupe is Mayor of Dodoma, the Capital City of The United Republic of Tanzania. He is a member of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi Political Party,the dominant ruling party in Tanzania, and a professor at Dodoma University. He also served at the University of Dar es Salaam from 2005 to 2008.

Kobie Brand

Regional Director: ICLEI Africa, Global Director: ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center

Kobie has more than 25 years of practical and managerial experience in Environmental Management and Urban Development. Her expertise range from biodiversity, climate change, coastal management to urban sustainability and planning. She is responsible for the strategic direction, growth, partnerships, programmes and scope of work for ICLEI in Africa. Kobie is also Global Director for ICLEI’s Biodiversity and Nature-based solutions work, and in this capacity heads up the Cities Biodiversity Center embedded in ICLEI Africa.

Dr Geci Karuri-Sebina

Associate, South African Cities Network
Visiting Fellow, Wits School of Governance

Dr Geci Karuri-Sebina is an Associate with South African Cities Network, a peer-based learning network of South Africa’s largest cities, and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Wits School of Governance. Her experience and interests particularly relate to cities, socio-technical systems and
the future. Geci holds a PhD in planning and innovation systems (Wits University, Johannesburg), Masters’ degrees in Architecture and in Urban Planning (UCLA, California), and undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Sociology. Geci has worked with various government and science
council programmes in South Africa over the past two decades, including National Treasury, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). She also serves in numerous public-good development formations including the Boards of
AfricaLics, the Johannesburg Development Agency – JDA, and PlanAct NGO, and is National Organiser of the Civic Tech Innovation Network.

Murielle Diaco

Murielle is the founder and CEO of DJOUMAN (www.djouman.com), one of the leading platform catalyzing innovation for sustainability in Africa. With a background in computer science and engineering, she worked for more than 6 years in the financial industry. In 2013, she decided to engage more actively in sustainable development in Africa. Coming from Cote d’Ivoire, she really wanted her work to impact positively the continent. She decided to undertake a MBA, following which she turned to entrepreneurship. In January 2016, she launched platform DJOUMAN which goal is to provide effective means to the people who are building tomorrow’s Africa to grow their projects. The platform works with innovative start-ups and SMEs to help them transform their potential into success. She facilitates connection with the right experts, business partners and investors. DJOUMAN is involved in projects in renewable energies, waste management, sustainable agriculture but also health and education.
Today, the platform counts more than 2000 members primarily located in western and central Africa.

Lorenzo Fioramonti

Lorenzo Fioramonti is Full Professor of Political Economy at the University of Pretoria and a world-renowned expert in wellbeing-based development models. Until December 2019, he was Minister of Education, University and Research in Italy, where he introduced mandatory classes about sustainable development and climate change in all schools and universities.