Here are 5 African women who are running the show in these fast-rising African cities

Kigali at night. (@disafrica)
  • Over seeing these cities and municipalities is no child play and requires great organisation skill matched with mental intellect.
  • Faced with meagre budget, poor and sometimes non-existent infrastructure, overpopulation and social ills, African Mayors have to rise to the occasion and meet all these challenges and more head on.
  • Here are 5 African women who are doing just that. 

Africa consists of some of the fastest growing cities and municipalities in the world today.  

Over seeing these cities and municipalities is no child play and requires great organisation skill matched with mental intellect.

Faced with meagre budget, poor and sometimes non-existent infrastructure, overpopulation and social ills, African Mayors have to rise to the occasion and meet all these challenges and more head on

Here are 5 African women who are doing just that. 

Mayoress Soham El Wardini

Soham El Wardini made history in 2018 after being elected Dakar’s first female mayor since Senegal became an independent nation in 1960.

Prior to her election, she was the deputy mayor to embattled Khalifa Sall – who has been imprisoned since March 2017 over corruption charges.

Wardini polled 64 votes against her opponent's 13 votes and 11 votes for Moussa Sy and Banda Diop respectively.

“I am proud to be the first female mayor of the Senegalese capital,” she said once the results were announced.

The Senegalese capital, Dakar, which has a population of three million inhabitants, has had a tumultuous mayoral history over the past two years.

Her mission is to make sure that Senegal’s biggest city is clean.

“I do not want Dakar to be named one of the dirtiest cities in the world. It deserves all the sacrifices,” she said. 

She was born in 1953 in the town of Latmingué in the Kaolack region. Her father is of Lebanese origin while her mother is a full Senegalese.

Marie-Chantal Rwakazina 

45 year old Marie-Chantal Rwakazina is the mayor of Rwanda’s Capital Kigali.

She was elected as the new mayor in 2018.

She won 146 votes cast by city councilors against 8 that were cast in favour of her challenger, 32-year old Henriette Murekatete, a lawyer.

Rwakazina, a former economics lecturer at the University of Rwanda (2000-2008) is a development expert who has been working with the United Nations Development Programme, where she was coordinator of UN support programmes in the country.

Rwakazina is the fourth female mayor of the city after Rose Kabuye, Aisa Kirabo Kacyira and Monique Mukaruliza.

Mayoress Rohey Malick Lowe 

Rohey Malick Lowe is the first woman elected to steer affairs of Gambia’s capital Banjul.

She was elected to office in 2018. The polls were the first mayoral election after ouster of Yahya Jammeh.

One of her priorities is to ensure that the youth and women of Banjul, are empowered through skills and entrepreneurship training.

Rohey Malick Lowe was born and raised in Banjul, Gambia, where her father, Alhagie Malick Lowe, was a one time Mayor. 

She speaks English, Swedish,Mandinka and Wollof. 

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr 

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr is the Mayor of Freetown.

In the 2018 general elections, the people of Freetown elected her mayor by a near-30-point margin.

She is the first female mayor since 1977-1980 when the position was held by Dr June Holst-Roness.

Freetown is perched on a sloping hills, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Its role as an economic driver has spurred significant urbanisation since independence in 1961.

Aki-Sawyerr has an agenda focused on housing, urban planning, environmental management and sanitation to improve the lives of Freetownians.

Yvonne is a finance professional with over 25 years of experience in strategic planning, risk management, and project management in the public and private sectors.

Safiya Hassan Sheikh Ali Jimale

In 2019, Somalia made history and elected its first female mayor by the name of Safiya Hassan Sheikh Ali Jimale.

Safiya is the mayor of the city of Beledweyne in central Somalia. She becomes the second mayor of the city, which has more than 1.7 million inhabitants. 

The city is part of the Beledweyne District and serves as capital of the Hiiraan province. The town is situated in the Shebelle Valley some 210 miles north of Mogadishu. It is divided by the Shebelle River into eastern and western sections.

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