Updated: Feb 24, 2020
Among the many problems that threaten global prosperity, climate change is a major one. While the most well-known effects of climate change are environmental, it negatively affects the economy too. Unfortunately, developing countries (especially in Africa) are most affected by these changes in climate conditions. Here are some reasons why:
In many African countries, for instance, agriculture is the biggest employer of labor and a source of livelihood for a majority of the populations. But in recent times, unpredictable temperature changes have become a major concern for farmers. For example: In 2016, Nigeria - the 2nd largest tomato producer in Africa lost 80% of harvested tomatoes to pest invasion which resulted in tomato scarcity and inflation. A study of 202 farmers living in Nigeria revealed that 61.8% of the respondents believe that climate change effects led to the decline in tomato production. With many families dependent on agriculture for income -- lower crop output for farmers worsens poverty in the region.
The impact of climate change extends beyond agricultural productivity, it also affects productivity in the energy and transport sectors -- thereby threatening poverty reduction and economic growth in Africa.
Ghana, one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, has had its fair share of climate change problems. For example, 54% of her energy grid is hydro-electric, sourced from River Volta; however due to occasional droughts resulting in declines in dam’s water level, the country has experienced several power interruptions between 2012 and 2015. To cite a case, in early 2015, power was interrupted for almost 36 hours at a time. These partly contributed to the fall in the country's economic output (i.e. GDP) by at least 4.5% between 2012 and 2015.
Given the negative effects of climate change on productivity, poverty reduction, and economic growth, African governments need to consciously include climate change objectives, priorities and strategies into development plans for each sector especially in agriculture, transportation and energy that are most vulnerable.
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Article Credit: Michael Adesanya