Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE

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. Yvonne is passionate about the development of Sierra Leone. She is a Chartered Accountant and holds an MSc in Politics of the World Economy (London School of Economics) and a BSc Hons in Economics (Fourah Bay College). She is married with two children.

Her international career began with professional services firm Arthur Andersen & Co, which she joined in 1990. In the period between 1999 to 2001, she campaigned against the trade in ‘blood diamonds’ and advocated for ending the Sierra Leone civil war. She remains the Chairperson for SLWT, a charity that she co-founded in April 1999 and which continues to supports disadvantaged children and young people in Sierra Leone.

In 2009, Yvonne became the Investment Director of IDEA[1], where she was responsible for raising international financing for IDEA projects and for local stakeholder management. IDEA are the owners and developers of the Hilton Freetown Cape Sierra Hotel. Yvonne was also a Director of Consult IDEA[2], which in 2016 initiated “LEADA”Ó, a leadership development programme designed to promote the practice of leadership as an act of service in Sierra Leone.

From August 2014 to October 2014, Yvonne led a campaign in the UK to increase international awareness of the Ebola outbreak and recruit volunteers to work in the Ebola Treatment Centres. Taking sabbatical leave from IDEA, she relocated to Sierra Leone in November 2014 and served as Director of Planning at the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC). In recognition of her contribution to the Ebola response efforts, Yvonne was awarded an Ebola Gold Medal by the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone in December 2015 and was made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom in January 2016.

From January 2016 to October 2017, Yvonne served as the Delivery Team Lead for the President’s Recovery Priorities, the second phase of a multi-stakeholder programme to drive sustainable socio-economic transformation in Sierra Leone post Ebola. Yvonne also played a critical role in the design and execution of “Operation Clean Freetown”, an initiative under the President’s Recovery Priorities which aims to introduce a sustainable system of household waste collection to the city of Freetown.

Yvonne was elected Mayor of Freetown on 7th March 2018 with a commitment to transform the city and improve the lives of Freetonians.

 

[1]IDEA – International Development Enterprise Associates Ltd is a UK based company owned by Sierra Leoneans with a specific remit to execute privately funded development projects in Sierra Leone.

[2]ConsultIDEA is a wholly owned subsidiary of IDEA and provides consultancy services to third parties.