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.

International eminent personalities are appointed to act as goodwill ambassadors for the African World Heritage Fund. They champion the objectives of the Fund and also reinforce the efforts to fundraise for the Fund. To date, the following are AWHF Patrons (from left to right):

  • HE Hifikepunye Pohamba – former President of Namibia
  • Mr. Pedro V.R. Pires- former President of Cape Verde
  • Ms. Christina Cameron – Canada
  • Mr. Phuthuma Nhleko – South Africa