Climate change threatens 43m Africans


The World Bank has warned that more than 43 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa can be affected by poverty by 2030 if climate change is not properly addressed.

Failure to address the issue could cause lower crop yield, higher food prices and health impacts.

Head, Communication, World Bank Nigeria, Obadiah Tohomdet, Head of Communications, World Bank Nigeria quoting from the newly released Shock Waves report by the bank on `Managing the Impacts of Climate Change’ on Poverty noted that Sub-Saharan Africa was most vulnerable to climate change.

It stated that if this was not addressed, 43 million additional people and most of them in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Angola and Uganda could fall into extreme poverty by 2030.

It stated that climate change was already preventing people in the region from escaping poverty and that without improvement, millions more would risk entering the poverty line.

“Without rapid, inclusive and climate-smart development, together with emissions-reductions efforts that protect the poor, there could be more than 100 million additional people in poverty worldwide by 2030.

“The study shows that poor people are already at high risk from climate-related shocks, including crop failures, spikes in food prices after extreme weather events and increased incidence of diseases.

“It says such shocks could wipe out hard-won gains, leading to irreversible losses, driving people back into poverty, particularly in Africa and South Asia.

“This report sends a clear message that ending poverty will not be possible unless we take strong action to reduce the threat of climate change on poor people and dramatically reduce harmful emissions,” it said.

The report also stated that agriculture would be the main driver of any increase in poverty.

“Modeling studies suggest that climate change could result in global crop yield losses as large as 5 per cent by 2030 and 30 per cent by 2080.

“Higher incidence of malaria, diarrhea, stunt labour productivity and effects of high temperatures are the next strongest drivers.

“The impact of climate change on food prices in Africa could be as high as 12 per cent in 2030 and 70 per cent by 2080.

“This could be a crippling blow to those nations where food consumption of the poorest households amounts to over 60 per cent of total spending,’’ it stated.

To prevent all this, the report called for the strengthening of social safety nets and universal health coverage.

It also advised relevant governments to devise specific measures such as upgraded flood defenses, early warning systems and climate-resistant crops to cope with climate change.

It also urged reduced greenhouse gas emissions to remove the long-term threat that climate change posed for poverty reduction.

The report also reviewed successful policy solutions to show that good development could protect the poor from shocks.

It cited the case of droughts in Ethiopia in 2011 where through the government’s safety net, the impact on poor people was reduced by expanding coverage from 6.5 million to 9.6 million people.

Also in Uganda, the combination of new crop varieties and extension visits had boosted household agricultural income by 16 per cent.

Comments are closed.