As mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr is committed to addressing her city's challenges using an inclusive, data-driven approach to urban development.

Why you should listen

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Order of British Empire (OBE) became Mayor of Freetown in May 2018 and dedicated herself to an inclusive vision of the city's renewal. Her three-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. 

Passionate about her country and the environment, Aki-Sawyerr campaigned against the trade in "blood diamonds" during the civil war in Sierra Leone and cofounded SLWT, a charity that has supported disadvantaged children for 20 years. A finance professional with more than 25 years of private sector experience in strategic planning and management, her public sector engagement began during the 2014 Ebola outbreak. As a leader in the wake of the epidemic, she drove the second phase of a multi-stakeholder program to energize Sierra Leone's socioeconomic recovery. She was awarded a gold medal by the president and an OBE by the Queen of England for her service.

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr’s TED talks

More news and ideas from Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr

Countdown Global Launch

Leadership: Notes from Session 2 of the Countdown Global Launch

October 10, 2020

Countdown is a global initiative to accelerate solutions to the climate crisis. Watch the talks, interviews and performances from the Countdown Global Launch at ted.com/countdown. The climate crisis demands leadership at every level. Governments, cities and businesses are three key players in designing and implementing the necessary transition. In Session 2 of the Countdown Global […]

Continue reading
Live from TEDWomen

Meaning Seekers: Notes from Session 5 of TEDWomen 2019

December 6, 2019

Session 5 of TEDWomen 2019 is all about seeking meaning: in our political lives, creative lives, healthcare systems, criminal justice and beyond. The event: TEDWomen 2019, Session 5: Meaning Seekers, hosted by Helen Walters and Anna Verghese When and where: Thursday, December 5, 2019, 5pm PT, at La Quinta Resort & Club in La Quinta, […]

Continue reading