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REFRAME Conversation 1: African Cities and Agenda 2063

September 23, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

African Centre for Cities and partners present the REFRAME platform to promote informed debate and proposition on how best we can programmatically advance sustainable and inclusive African cities. This propositional conversation series seeks to set an agenda and provide a set of coordinates for multilateral partners, knowledge institutions, social movements, governments, networks and concerned business to gravitate around. The intention is to equip all stakeholders to influence policy formulation processes at a pan-African scale, between Africa and Europe, US and Asia, at national and local levels. It seeks to make plain the urban conditions it will take to achieve the lofty and urgent goals of Agenda 2063, the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Conversation 1: African Cities and Agenda 2063

  • Welcome & introduction to Reframe Series: Edgar Pieterse (Director, African Centre for Cities)
  • Why African cities hold the key to the success of Agenda 2063: Carlos Lopes (Professor in the Mandela School of Public Governance at the University of Cape Town)
  • Respondent: Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE (Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone)
  • Structured Q & A

WHEN: 23 September 2020
TIME: 1:00 – 2:30pm CAT



Edgar Pieterse | Director, African Centre for Cities
An expert on African urbanisation, Edgar Pieterse, knows what radical and rapid urban change means for a city, a country and a continent. He is deeply fascinated by the drama of cities everywhere and at different moments in time, including the future, the past and science fiction invocations. Simultaneously, he endeavours to remain grounded in the tough and messy realities of cities—invariably always on the move—working with materialist and aesthetic optics. As such he extends himself in research and teaching theoretical and applied concerns.

He is currently engaged in several interrelated research topics: Radical Social Economies; Sustainable Infrastructure; Adaptive Urban Governance; Speculative Urban Experiments; Urban Innovation Systems as well as Urban Pedagogy and Southern Urbanisms.

In his teaching practice he is currently deeply immersed in the curriculum development of a new Profession Masters degree in the Practice of Sustainable Urbanism set to launch later this year, as well as teaching into the Urban Theory module of the MPhil Southern Urbanism programme.

In his latest book New Urban Worlds: Inhabiting Dissonant Times, co-authored with longstanding collaborator AbdouMaliq Simone, explores the emerging epicentres of global urbanisation through the detail of people’s lives. The authors argue, we need adequate concepts and practices to grasp the composition and intricacy of these shifting efforts to make visible new political possibilities for action and social justice in cities across Asia and Africa.

Carlos Lopes | Professor in the Mandela School of Public Governance at the University of Cape Town
Honorary Professor at Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, Faculty of Commerce, University of Cape Town. Visiting Professor at Sciences Po, Paris, and Associate Fellow at Chatham House, London. 2017 Fellow at Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford.

Has been associated with a number of high level boards, including the Global Commission for Economy and Climate, Global Commission for the Future of Work, Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation, Kofi Annan Foundation. Is a current member of the boards of Jakaya Kikwete Foundation, Hailemariam and Roman Foundation, the Graça Machel Trust, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, the Global Advisory Board of the African Leadership Institute, Waterloo University International Advisory Board, Blockchain Charity Foundation, African Center for Cities Advisory Board, as well as Honorary Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences and Lifetime Member of the Lisbon Academy of Sciences.

Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Cândido Mendes University, Brazil,  Hawassa University, Ethiopia and the Polytechnic University of Mozambique.

Past chair of the Lisbon University Institute (2009 to 2017). Past head of several institutions at the United Nations, including the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, UN System Staff College and UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa, (2012-2016).

Has occupied prominent positions such as UN Assistant Secretary-General and Political Director for Secretary-General Kofi Annan and he is currently the  African Union High Representative for Partnerships with Europe and a member of the African Union Reform Team led by President Paul Kagame.

Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE | Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone
Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE was sworn in as Mayor of Freetown on May 2018 with a commitment to transform the city 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. She is a finance professional with over 25 years of private sector experience in strategic planning, risk management consulting and project management.

Her 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.

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