The Impact of Climate Change on Africa: Extensive Financial Losses and Millions Facing Direct Effects in 2022 – New Study

The Impact Of Climate Change On Africa: Extensive Financial Losses And Millions Facing Direct Effects In 2022 – New Study
  • Africa incurred economic damages amounting to over R160 billion last year as a result of climate change.
  • The continent witnessed 5,000 deaths, with 48% attributed to drought and 43% to flooding.
  • By 2025, Africa’s food imports are projected to triple.

Africa experienced economic losses exceeding R160 billion due to climate change in the previous year. Additionally, more than 110 million individuals in the region were directly impacted by weather-related hazards, including climate change and water-related disasters.

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These findings were revealed in the newly released State of the Climate in Africa 2022 report, presented during the ongoing Climate Change Week in Nairobi, Kenya.

The report highlighted that out of the 5,000 deaths recorded, 48% were linked to droughts, while 43% were attributed to flooding. However, the actual toll is likely to be higher due to underreporting.

“Heatwaves, heavy rains, floods, tropical cyclones, and prolonged droughts are wreaking havoc on communities and economies, placing an increasing number of people at risk,” stated Professor Petteri Taalas, the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization.

“Africa faces significant gaps in weather observations, and the existing early warning services are inadequately equipped. Our resolve is to bridge these gaps and ensure that life-saving early warnings reach everyone,” he added.

African economies and livelihoods primarily depend on agriculture, which employs over 55% of the workforce. However, climate change has resulted in a 34% decline in the continent’s agricultural productivity since 1961, representing the largest decrease compared to other regions worldwide.

The report predicts that by 2025, annual food imports by African nations will triple, rising from R665 billion to R2 trillion.

Key report findings:

Among the regions in Africa, North Africa has experienced the most rapid warming. In 2022, the region witnessed intense heatwaves, leading to wildfires in Algeria and Tunisia.

Africa’s average rate of warming has increased from +0.2°C/decade between 1961 and 1990 to +0.3°C/decade between 1991 and 2022, slightly above the global average.

The Horn of Africa, particularly Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, suffered severely from the worst drought in 40 years. The impact was exacerbated by the “triple-dip” La Niña phenomenon.

Consecutive years of poor rainfall led to a five-year decline in agricultural productivity and food security in the region. The drought resulted in 1.2 million individuals being internally displaced in Somalia and 512,000 additional displacements in Ethiopia.

Furthermore, major flooding occurred in the Sahel region, notably in Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and southern Sudan, during the monsoon season.

The implementation of Africa’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) requires an estimated R52.3 trillion between 2020 and 2030. NDCs are self-defined climate pledges made by countries under the Paris Agreement to contribute to global efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C, adapt to climate impacts, and provide adequate financial support.

In addition to the Africa Development Fund’s efforts to generate up to R260 billion, the African Development Bank has quadrupled its climate finance commitment to reach R375 billion by 2025, with 67% dedicated to adaptation.

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