ACRC’s consortium advisory group (CAG) is an interdisciplinary body, independent from The University of Manchester and comprising individuals from outside the partnership. Acting in an advisory capacity to the CEO, the CAG plays a key role in the overall quality control and oversight of the consortium.

CHAIR: Amani Abou-Zeid

African Union Commission

Amani Abou-Zeid is the twice-elected African Union Commissioner in charge of infrastructure, energy and ICT. For more than 30 years, she has served in leadership positions in international organisations, amassing experience across continents and stakeholders. She managed the African Development Bank’s largest operational portfolio and led national and continental multi-sectoral development programmes, including implementing the world’s largest solar power plant.

An Egyptian national, she has a multi-disciplinary education: Electrical Engineering, Cairo University; MBA, Université Senghor; MPA, Harvard University; and PhD Social and Economic Development, The University of Manchester. She was selected multiple times as one of the Most Influential African Women, and is recognised as a champion of gender equality and women’s empowerment. She is a member of the prestigious Global Leaders Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development and the Global Commission for Urgent Action on Energy Efficiency.

The University of Manchester

Jane Battersby

African Centre for Cities

Jane Battersby is a human geographer with an interest in urban food systems, urban food policies and the construction of food security theory in Northern and Southern research contexts. A key area of focus is the ways in which the food system and the urban system interact to shape nutritional outcomes, with a particular focus on the dual burden of malnutrition. Current ongoing research projects include the BBSRC-funded Nourished Child project and the ESRC-funded Reimagining Infrastructure project.

Jo Beall

London School of Economics (LSE)

Jo Beall is an emeritus professor and distinguished research fellow at LSE and has conducted research in Africa and Asia on urban development and governance, as well as cities in situations of conflict and state fragility. She was the executive director of education and society at the British Council, and formerly deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Cape Town. She is a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Open University.

Victoria A. Beard

Cornell University

Victoria A. Beard is a professor and associate dean of research initiatives in the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning at Cornell University and fellow at the World Resources Institute. She has spent her career at the nexus of urban research and planning practice. Her research focuses on how planners can address inequality, poverty, and access to core urban infrastructure and services, specifically water and sanitation, with much of her work having focused on informal settlements in the global South.

The University of Manchester

Somsook Boonyabancha

Asian Coalition for Housing Rights

Somsook Boonyabancha is the chairperson and former secretary-general of the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, and has been working extensively on urban poor housing development and slum upgrading in Thailand and other Asian countries for the past 30 years. Her particular expertise is in orienting the development of community driven, community-led development to improve urban community housing, community welfare and rural community land and housing development.

Hastings Chikoko


Hastings Chikoko is the managing director of regions, and mayoral engagement and regional director for Africa at C40. He serves on the advisory board of the African Centre for Cities as well as the technical advisory group for the Global Environment Facility (Sustainable Cities and Urban Systems). He is a member of the Africa-Europe Strategic Task Force on Sustainable Energy, and the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Clean Air. He also sits on the Global Supervisory Council/Board of Wetlands International.

The University of Manchester

Ghada Darwish

Benban Solar Energy Developers Association

Ghada Darwish is an entrepreneur and senior advisor with 20 years’ experience in the development of public and private energy and industrial projects, and more than ten years’ experience as a government relations and communications expert. She is currently secretary-general of Benban Solar Energy Developers Association, a board member of the Egyptian Independent Power Producers Association, country head for Egypt in the SECI Energia/Maccaferri Group, and CEO of DEM Consulting Co. She has recently been appointed member of the African Union Network for Women in Infrastructure.

The University of Manchester

Rodrigo Guerrero

Centro Investigaciones en Salud y Violencia (CISALVA)

Rodrigo Guerrero graduated as MD from Universidad del Valle and obtained a Master of Science and PhD in epidemiology from Harvard University. After a career teaching epidemiology, he was elected Mayor of Cali in 1992, developing an epidemiological public health approach to urban violence prevention that has been successfully applied in several cities of Colombia and other countries. He was elected for a second mayoral term from 2012-2015 and also started the Violence Prevention Program at the Pan American Health Organization. He is a member of the US National Academy of Medicine and Emeritus Professor at Universidad del Valle.

Sachin Gupta


Sachin Gupta is the team leader of an adaptive policy innovation facility in Tanzania, with successful systems change results in urban planning, urban water, solid waste management, municipal revenue mobilisation, and investment facilitation. A chartered accountant with over 20 years’ experience leading complex programmes, he has led country teams to design and implement policy reform, product and service innovations, and inclusive growth projects in a range of urban sectors.

Somik V. Lall

World Bank

Somik Lall is the World Bank’s global lead for territorial and spatial development and lead urban economist in the Global Practice for Urban, Disaster Risk, Resilience, and Land. He is a recognised expert on job creation and productivity in cities, development of lagging areas, and enhancing economic outcomes with transport connectivity and advises national and sub-national governments on key policy issues. He has led the World Bank’s global research program on urbanisation and spatial development and previously founded the Urbanisation Reviews programme.

The University of Manchester

Huang Meibo

International Development Cooperation Academy

Huang Meibo is a professor at the Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, where she directs the International Development Cooperation Academy. She is the deputy secretary-general of the China Society of World Economics and a key member of the managing group of the China International Development Research Network (CIDRN). Her current research focuses on international development assistance (especially Chinese foreign aid), China-Africa trade and investment, South-South cooperation and development financing. She has a PhD in Economics.

The University of Manchester

David Pedley

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)

David Pedley is a governance adviser at FCDO, overseeing the African Cities research programme, research on tax and development, and a programme of randomised controlled trials in the areas of governance, crime and conflict. David has had four overseas appointments, all in Africa: Kenya, working on the Tanzania programme: Zimbabwe, working on the Malawi programme; South Africa; and Ghana. In the UK, he has worked on Asia regional issues, M&E and VFM of governance programmes, and governance issues in opposition-controlled Syria.

Sarah Sabry

Save the Children

Sarah Sabry is the global lead for urban at Save the Children and also leads the Global Alliance – Cities for Children. With more than 20 years’ experience in development practice and research, she has worked and consulted for various organisations including the Ford Foundation, IIED, IDRC, the American University in Cairo, and the Arab human rights fund. Her work has mostly focused on urban poverty and social policy, particularly on slums/informal settlements and youth development. She holds a PhD in development studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies.

The University of Manchester

Richard Sennett

Council on Urban Initiatives

Richard Sennett is a member of the Council on Urban Initiatives, led by UN-HABITAT. He is also senior fellow at the Center on Capitalism and Society at Columbia University and visiting professor of urban studies at MIT. Previously, he founded the New York Institute for the Humanities, taught at New York University and at the London School of Economics, and served as President of the American Council on Work. Over the last five decades, he has written about social life in cities, changes in labour, and social theory.

Shipra Narang Suri


Shipra Narang Suri is an urban planner with a PhD in Post-War Recovery Studies from the University of York. She leads UN-Habitat’s Urban Practices Branch and is also the senior advisor within UN-Habitat for local governments and their networks. She has extensive experience in advising national and local governments, as well as private sector organisations and networks, on issues of urban planning and management, good urban governance and indicators, liveability and sustainability of cities, urban safety, women and cities, as well as post-conflict/post-disaster recovery.

The University of Manchester

Ivan Turok

Human Sciences Research Council

Ivan Turok holds a research chair at the University of the Free State and is a distinguished research fellow at the Human Sciences Research Council, as well as editor of the journals ‘Area Development and Policy’ and ‘Development Southern Africa’, and former editor-in-chief of ‘Regional Studies’. His research interests include urbanisation and development, local labour markets and urban unemployment, affordable housing and sustainable human settlements, agglomeration economies and regional economic development, and urban and regional policies.

Olamide Udoma-Ejorh

Lagos Urban Development Initiative

Olamide Udoma-Ejorh is director at the Lagos Urban Development Initiative, and an urban activist, researcher, filmmaker and writer. She is currently involved in governance and social issues within the urban environment of Lagos and is an advocate for sustainable transportation and social engagement within urban spaces. Focusing on transport management, slum upgrading and housing rights in urbanising African cities, she consults with UN-Habitat on the Nigerian projects for the Global Future Cities Programme.

Ayman Wanas

Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport (AASTMT)

Ayman Wanas is an international leading academic and scholar in urbanism and architecture, a professor of urban and environmental design and vice dean of engineering at AASTMT in Egypt. With advanced academic understanding of urban heritage, design aesthetics in Cairo’s infrastructure expansion, and design of public space to promote social understanding and cohesion, his work helped establish AASTMT’s architecture department as the leading department in Egypt and the wider region. He also has a private architectural practice in Cairo.