The AWHF governance is multilayered. Firstly, it is a Category II Centre under the auspices of UNESCO since October 2009. Category II Centres contribute to the strategic objectives of UNESCO, implementing its mandate throughout the world. As a member of this large family, AWHF is committed to World Heritage-related training and research directed at increasing the visibility, relevance and impact of UNESCO’s programmes. Secondly, the AWHF is registered as a trust under South African law and located at the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) in Midrand, South Africa. The AWHF was founded on initiative of the African States parties to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention and the African Union.

The Board of Trustees is the principal organ of the AWHF, with full decision-making authority and responsibility for the operation and functioning of the Fund. It consists of five official members representing the different geographical regions of Africa. UNESCO, the African Union and South Africa, the host country, are also represented in the Board of Trustees. The AWHF Board of Trustees consists of representatives from the 5 regions of Africa and a number of professional members. Currently, the AWHF Board of Trustees is composed of the following members:


South Africa: Mr. Vusithemba Ndima

Board of Trustees Members

East Africa: Mr. Yonas Desda (Ethiopia)

Southern Africa: Mr. Diekumpuna Sita N’sadisi José (Angola)

West Africa: Ms. Lalla Aicha Ben Barka (Mali)

North Africa:  Mr. Abdellah Salih Alaoui (Morocco)

Central Africa: Mr. Miguel Oyono Mifumu (Equatorial Guinea)

UNESCO: Ms. Mechtild Rössler (Director of the World Heritage Centre)

African Union: Mr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko (Commissioner for Social Affairs)

Professional Member: Neil Fitt (Botswana)

Professional Member: Relebohile Malahleha (South Africa)

Professional Member: Ndiaye Souleye (Senegal)

Ex Officio: Mr. Shonisani Munzhedzi (Department of Environmental Affairs – South Africa)

Ex Officio: Mr. Rapulane Sydney Molekane (Ambassador & permanent delegate of South Africa to UNESCO)


Advisory Bodies: ICROM, IUCN

Development Bank of South Africa

Advisor to the Board

Mr. Rapulane Mogototoane (South Africa)

Board of Trustees

The AWHF Board of Trustees consists of representatives of the South African Government, of the five regions of Africa, UNESCO, the African Union and a number of professional members.

Mr. Pedro Verona Rodrigues Pires was the President of Cape Verde from March 2001 to September 2011. Before becoming President, he was Prime Minister from 1975 to 1991.Mr. Pires was born in a small village on Fogo, Cape Verde to Luísa Rodrigues Pires and Maria Fidalga Lopes Pires. Later, he studied at Liceu Gil Eanes and Escola Jorge Barbosa in Mindelo during the 1950s and then abroad at the University of Lisbon in Portugal at the Faculty of Sciences. He fled to Conakry in 1962, then Ghana and afterwards headed to Algeria. He was trained in Cuba, the Soviet Union and Guinea-Bissau. Before independence, he returned to Praia, Cape Verde on a Portuguese military ship in 197
Dr. Christina Cameron took up her current position as a Professor and leads a research program on heritage conservation in the School of Architecture at the Université de Montréal. For more than 35 years she held leadership positions in the heritage field at Parks Canada. As Director General of National Historic Sites, she provided national direction for Canada’s historic places, focusing on heritage conservation and education programs. She also served as the Secretary to the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada from 1986 to 2005. She has written extensively since the 1970s on Canadian architecture, heritage management and World Heritage issues. She has been actively involved in UNESCO’s World Heritage as Head of the Canadian delegation (1990-2008) and as Chairperson (1990, 2008). She has chaired several international expert meetings on strategic planning, historic canals, cultural landscapes, working methods, the global strategy for a representative World Heritage List, and a proposal to establish a World Heritage Indigenous Peoples Council. She holds a B.A. in literature from the University of Toronto, a Masters in museum studies from Brown University and a Ph.D. in history of architecture from Université Laval. She received the Public Service of Canada’s Award of Excellence for Outstanding Career (2006) and the Outstanding Achievement Award, the highest recognition of the Public Service of Canada (2008). She is Vice-President of Canada’s Advisory Committee on Official Residences, a member of the Board of the Willowbank School of Restoration Arts, and Vice-President of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. In 2012, she was inducted as a Fellow into the Royal Society of Canadapour l’UNESCO.
Dr. Hifikepunye Pohamba is a Namibian politician who served as the second President of Namibia from 21 March 2005 to 21 March 2015. He won the 2004 election overwhelmingly as the candidate of SWAPO, the ruling party, and he was re-elected in the 2009 election. Pohamba was the President of SWAPO from 2007 until his retirement in 2015. Pohamba is a recipient of the Ibrahim Prize. Prior to his Presidency, Pohamba served in various ministerial positions, beginning at Namibia’s independence in 1990: he was Minister of Home Affairs from 1990 to 1995, Minister of Fisheries from 1995 to 1997, Minister without Portfolio from 1997 to 2000, and Minister of Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation from 2001 to 2005. He was also Secretary-General of SWAPO from 1997 to 2002 and Vice-President of SWAPO from 2002 to 2007.
Mr. Phuthuma Nhleko is a South African businessman who served as executive chairman of MTN Group, which is an Africa-focused holding group involved primarily in the operation of GSM cellular telephone networks. Mr. Nhleko was also chairman and one of the founding members of Worldwide African Investment Holdings, an investment holding company with interests in the petroleum, telecommunications, and information technology industries. As CEO of MTN group, Mr. Nhleko has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the GSM Association (GSMA), the global trade association for mobile phone operators. He served the board during a two-year term. He was previously a senior member of the Standard Corporate & Merchant Bank corporate finance team. He also practised as a civil engineer and project manager for the Urban Foundation, and was a senior road engineer for the Ministry of Works in Swaziland. Nhleko is a director of Johnnic Holdings, Nedbank Group and Old Mutual SA. His academic qualifications include a BSc in civil engineering from Ohio State University and an MBA in finance from Atlanta University. He is currently the CEO of Phembabi and Shanduka Holdings Group based in Sandton, South Africa.