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Plans to transform African cities

By Phephile Motau

The African Mayoral Leadership Initiative (AMALI) has unveiled its plans to catalyse the transformation of cities across the continent.

According to a press statement by AMALI, the initiative will provide exclusive, tailored support to African city leaders, drawing on the insights and experience of a distinguished group of coaches including former heads of state, government ministers, and mayors with a legacy of transformation.

The organisation said the inaugural cohort of mayors is taking part in the AMALI City Leadership Programme gathered for an intensive, four-day leadership forum held at the University of Cape Town this week.

The forum kicked off a year-long programme, which will support the participating mayors to hone their visions for their cities and identify the teams and tools needed to realise them.

It was further stated that the initiative was conceived by the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town and Big Win Philanthropy. Also announced was that Bloomberg Philanthropies would join the collaboration.

According to the statement, speaking at the conclusion of the Forum, Big Win Chair and President, Jamie Cooper, said Africa was experiencing unprecedented rates of urbanisation and growth of its youthful populations.

“Bold and competent city leadership has the potential to harness these trends and put cities and countries on a trajectory in which their populations thrive for generations to come. I look forward to working with the leaders in our inaugural cohort as they plan out their respective journeys to delivering these game-changing pathways for their people,” he said.

Edgar Pieterse, Founding Director of ACC said with 42per cent of the African population living in cities, it was clear that they must be a priority in the effort to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth for the continent.

“I was inspired to hear the fresh and innovative ideas shared by the city leaders this week and look forward to seeing how they put them into practice,” he said.

The organisation said Bloomberg Philanthropies brought to AMALI the wealth of learnings it has developed through its family of existing city leadership and government innovation programmes, including its flagship Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.

Among Bloomberg’s initial contributions will be providing African mayors participating in AMALI with data support including technical assistance, access to data experts, workshops, and other materials to help them enhance their use of data to deliver results that matter to residents.

James Anderson, who leads Government Innovation programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies said: “Cities are our future – and we need to ensure city leaders have the tools, resources, and networks needed to lead from the front. Bloomberg Philanthropies supports programmes around the globe focused on strengthening city leadership, promoting ambitious city innovation, and equipping city halls with the tools needed today to deliver better results.”

He said they were delighted to partner on the AMALI programme and launch new work to “ensure Africa’s mayors were increasingly well positioned to leverage the power of data to strengthen communities and improve lives.”

AMALI advisor and former Mayor of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Arkebe Oqubay, added: “It has been inspiring to witness the first AMALI City Leadership Forum in Cape Town. I am delighted to see African mayors learning about transformative leadership and exchanging experiences on how to transform African cities into vibrant, productive, and liveable hubs that are engines of the economy.”

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