2009 Tutu Fellow James Mwangi is one of the recipients of the 2022 Climate Breakthrough Award, the largest climate action award for individuals. James shares this year’s award is with Isabel Cavelier Adarve, a former Colombian climate diplomat; and a trio of ground-breaking campaigners in India: Brikesh Singh, Sanjiv Gopal and Vinuta Gopal. The award provides a $3 million multi-year flexible grant to 'extraordinary changemakers to pursue ambitious climate-change mitigation ideas that have the potential to transform entire industries or countries and materially change the lives of millions of people.
It is for recipients pursuing a new climate endeavor or scaling up one that might be considered too ambitious or early-stage by traditional funders, and not for past work.
The Indian trio have been working on collective activities supporting local governments move towards a net-zero goal. They have been bringing together a broad coalition of actors to work across silos and align Indian civil society for climate action goals. Isabel Cavelier Adarve is now using the contacts she developed as a Colombian diplomat - and climate activist - to work towards climate action across Latin America.
James has spent the last few years delving deeper into the issue and reimagining Africa’s role in the fight to avert climate disaster. Last year, he materialized his vision by launching the Climate Action Platform-Africa (CAP-A) during his tenure as a Yale World Fellow. The award represents significant support for this vision and provides an investment in his leadership and potential to make an even greater impact.
James points out that Africa needs to change narratives around the continent not being a climate change victim and instead show it is a hero with an undeniable potential to lead the way in carbon removal and climate restoration. He is the second Climate Breakthrough Awardee from Africa, following his Kenyan compatriot Mohamed Adow in 2020.
James founded the Climate Action Platform for Africa with Carlijn Nouwen in 2021 to help unlock Africa’s potential to transform its economies while playing a leading role in effective climate action. Prior to this, he spent 20 years at the Dalberg Group ,which he helped found. He lead the firm’s expansion into Africa in 2007, serving as Global Managing Partner of Dalberg Advisors, and most recently as Executive Director of the Dalberg Group. During his tenure, James led the growth, incubation or acquisition of many of the entities that today constitute Dalberg’s operational footprint in over 25 countries on six continents.
He also serves as a director on several boards, including the Skoll Foundation, the Global Centre for Pluralism, One Acre Fund, Old Mutual Limited and Koko Networks.
You can read more about the award at the Climate Breakthrough website.