Africa faces climate change related challenges that range from cyclones to desertification; deforestation and drought to flooding. To make a difference, a group of Tutu Fellows comprising four Fellow-run organisations and other partners have created an initiative called the Africa Climate Ambassadors Programme.
Since it was formed early in 2023, Climate Ambassors in the first cohort have been active. The expertise within the group ranges from finance though policy to technology and messaging and a key goal is to develop a green economy for Africa.
While they have been active since the start of the year, among the latest activities in which they are seeking to move the needle on policy and investment in climate-change include:
2014 Fellow Mokena Makeka attended the 2023 World Congress of Architects in Copenhagen Denmark organized by the International Union of Architects, held every three years. As the new President of the South African Institute of Architects, he has been interviewed on CNN about the use of timber in structures as a way of allowing communities to be more invested in building projects and expanding the skills used into the local community.
2014 Fellow Hubert Ruzibiza spoke at the First Austrian Forum for Peace at a workshop themed Capacity Development in an Unpredictable Global landscape. Hubert is a climate finance advisor and supports various public and private sector efforts in Africa including International Organizations such as the UNDP, REEEP, and the Africa Green Infrastructure Investment Bank (AfGIIB) in mobilizing resources, structuring green investment vehicles and facilitating countries in their transition in the green economy.
Bilha Ndirangu and the 2022 inaugural cohort of the eight-month Yale Emerging Climate Leaders Fellowship in Paris are completing their fellowship. It is a global south network of fellows tackling climate issues. Earlier this year, she was interviewed by 2014 Tutu Fellow and journalist, Lanre Akinola, on COP27, which this year was held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. COP27 is short for the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. That interview was mainly on whether this was indeed 'Africa's COP', or just COP in Africa. More recently, Bilha and 2009 Fellow James Mwangi showcased Kenya as a destination for DACCS at the Climeworks Direct Air Carbon Capture summit 2023 in Zurich. James was a featured speaker at the summit and his TED talk on carbon capture is indicative of the scale at which they are re-imagining green tech for Africa. At the summit, the focus of the discussion was on engineered high-quality carbon removal solutions and how they can be brought to Kenya and East Africa. Bilha also attended the Milken Institute 2023 Global Conference, speaking on the Race for Global Green Energy panel alongside Colin le Duc, Vineet Mittal and Tenzin Seldon, and moderated by Debra Kahn. She made the case that Africa offers strong potential for decarbonization, but that increased investments in renewable energy in Africa is a critical lever to make that happen.
You can read more about the activities of the Africa Climate Ambassadors' Programme on LinkedIn.