Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE

Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr was sworn in as Mayor of Freetown in May 2018 with a commitment to transform Freetown using an inclusive, data-driven approach to address challenges in the city.

Launched in January 2019, the 3-year Transform Freetown plan details 19 concrete targets across 11 sectors and covers issues ranging from waste management and housing, to improving urban planning, tackling environmental degradation and 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 as the Director of Planning at the National Ebola Response Centre during the Ebola epidemic of 2014-2015 – the role for which she was awarded an OBE (Officer in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). Her subsequent role was as Delivery Team Lead for the President’s Recovery Priorities – the second phase of a multi-stakeholder programme to drive socio-economic recovery in Sierra Leone post Ebola.

Her advocacy and charity contributions include campaigning against the trade in “blood diamonds” during the Sierra Leone civil war and in 1999, co-founding the Sierra Leone War Trust for Children (SLWT) which continues to support disadvantaged children in Sierra Leone today.

Earlier this year elected she was Vice Chair of the C40 Steering Committee, the governing body providing strategic direction for the global network of 97 cities committed to addressing the climate crisis. She was also featured on the 2021 TIME 100 Next and BBC 100 Women 2020 List.

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.