Amujae Leader Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone, has been featured on Bloomberg’s 2021 New Economy Catalyst List as one of the 31 global leaders helping pave the way towards a more sustainable future.
The article commended Mayor Aki-Sawyerr for “bringing an inclusive, data-driven approach to Sierra Leone’s capital city.” She was specifically highlighted for her commitment to plant one million trees in Freetown in an effort to help build the city’s climate resilience. The trees will not only absorb carbon dioxide, they will help protect the city from flood threats, while serving as an important visual reminder about protecting the environment.
Mayor Aki-Sawyerr’s ambitious mission to plant one million trees is part of the Transform Freetown initiative: a three-year vision for the city’s development, launched under her leadership, which places the environment at the center of its agenda to improve the wellbeing of citizens and the city itself.
Today, policies promoting environmental protection are more important than ever for countries in sub-Saharan Africa. According to a World Bank Groundswell report, up to 86 million people in the region may be forced to migrate within their own countries by 2050 due to the climate crisis. The majority of these climate refugees are expected to move to cities.
Freetown serves as an example of how “new ideas, fresh thinking, and novel approaches” from leaders like Mayor Aki-Sawyerr can result in innovative, forward-thinking solutions that allow urban areas to build resilience while combating climate change. Bloomberg journalist Andrew Browne summarized:
“Amid the suffering that continues all across the planet, there remains hope: Humankind has just entered a new era of discovery. These are the explorers leading the way.”
Bloomberg’s New Economy Catalyst List can be found here.