Program Director: African Mayoral Leadership Initiative (AMALI)

Big Win Philanthropy is seeking a Program Director to manage one of its flagship programs: the African Mayoral Leadership Initiative (AMALI). This program endeavors to support the top political leaders of African cities to use their tenures at the helm to set bold, transformative agendas and successfully drive the implementation of these reforms to dramatically and sustainably impact the lives of their citizens. A key tenet of the program is that leaders are in the best position to determine the priorities and development agendas of their cities.

The AMALI program, launched in January 2023, is centered around annual cohorts of approximately 15 mayors who participate in an initial four-day forum, follow-up workshops and a reunion; access data support; and, in select cases, receive tailored mentoring and coaching. AMALI is a joint initiative of Big Win Philanthropy and the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and is hosted by the ACC. It is further supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The role is based in Cape Town, South Africa, and reports to the Big Win Philanthropy Senior Director for Cities, with regular reporting to the AMALI Executive Committee Co-Chairs on strategic matters and to the Director of the African Centre for Cities on ACC matters.

Major components of the role include:

  • Overall coordination and leadership of AMALI in consultation with the AMALI Executive Committee Co-Chairs and Advisory Board; including alignment of all AMALI teams at the ACC (research team, logistics team and data team).
  • Serving as the key interface with mayors/governors, including scouting, recruitment, and pre- and post-forum support.
  • Overseeing all aspects of program management, workplans and budgets, event planning and alumni management.
  • Contributing proactively and strategically to curriculum design, content of workshops, and other bespoke follow-up activities, including the research components of the program.
  • Flagging specific needs of mayors/governors and providing linkages to the right sources for support.
  • Communicating effectively with program stakeholders, including likeminded organizations, funders, researchers, mentors and advisors.
  • Optimizing opportunities to raise the profile of good city leadership and transformative city action; enabling learning among city leaders; and advocating for greater investment in cities.
  • Supporting Big Win Philanthropy’s Senior Director for Cities, the Director of the African Centre for Cities, and other senior stakeholders in building strong working relationships with mayors, their delivery teams and relevant city networks in the region.

Ideal candidate profile:

  • Senior management-level experience relevant to this initiative that encompasses coordination and supervision of teams; production of reports and presentations for Boards of Directors or similar governance bodies; and management and delivery of programs within timelines and budgets.
  • Policy-level experience relevant to this initiative, including high-level political navigation and implementation within the public sphere; nurturing leadership growth; and urban policy and design.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills; ability to communicate appropriately and effectively at all levels within and outside the organization and in different cultural contexts.
  • Ability to interact meaningfully with senior political leaders.
  • Robust personal networks relevant to the program.
  • Demonstrated ability to thrive in a fast-paced, evolving environment; juggle and prioritize multiple, competing tasks and demands; and work independently with minimal supervision.
  • Awareness of when to seek supervisory assistance.
  • Strong research and presentation skills and fluency in urban policy matters.
  • Deep knowledge of African cities and experience working with municipal governments, especially mayors and senior city officials.
  • Willingness to support leaders’ agendas instead of approaching subject matter prescriptively.
  • Ability to work in a pan-African context.
  • Highly self-motivated with proven capacity to take initiative.
  • Ability and willingness to travel internationally frequently.
  • Fluency in English mandatory; language skills relevant to work in sub-Saharan Africa appreciated; e.g., French, Portuguese, Amharic.

This position is located at the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town. Successful applicants must have the right to work and reside in South Africa. Candidates with appropriate academic credentials may be eligible for a parallel (unpaid) appointment at the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town.

Interested candidates should send a cover letter and CV to with “AMALI” in the subject line.