Visiting Fellow Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE was sworn in as mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone in May 2018, with a commitment to transform Freetown using an inclusive, data-driven approach to address challenges in the city. The three-year “Transform Freetown” plan details nineteen concrete targets across eleven sectors and covers issues ranging from tackling environmental degradation to facilitating the creation of jobs in the tourism sector. A finance professional with over twenty-five years of private sector experience in strategic planning, risk management consulting, and project management, 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 program to drive socio-economic recovery in Sierra Leone post-Ebola. Aki-Sawyerr is a chartered accountant and holds an MSc in politics of the world economy from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BSc Hons in economics from Fourah Bay College. She was recently recognized in the BBC’s 2020 “100 Women” list. While Aki-Sawyerr was unable to visit campus in 2022-2023, she connected with members of the Penn delegation on the topic of extreme heat at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP27, in the fall of 2022.

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