Climatic changes in Sub-Saharan Africa have an adverse impact on the economy as well as other development sectors. Africa is known for climatic variations ranging from extreme hot weather, causing dry areas to become more arid, to extreme rainy weather, making wet areas even wetter. These random and rapid variations in the Sub-Saharan weather cause agricultural crop failuresand lead to epidemics by helping deadly diseases spread to new regions. The recent Ebola disaster is example of the effects of climatic variations in Africa.
Some of the major adverse climate and economic impacts on Africa are as follows:
• Agriculture is the most important sector for Africa’s social andeconomic development. About 60 percent of Africans are directly dependent on agriculture for theirlivelihoods. More than the 50 percent of the export value of Africacomes fromagriculture. Agricultural activities are directly affected by climate variations. Africa is highly impacted by droughts, leading to reduced harvests and less fertile land available for cultivation.
• Climate directly impacts the health of Africans. Africa faces nearly twice the number of diseases that affect other parts of the world. The variations in climate influence the biological and physical risks to humans. A large number of Africans suffer from diseases such as malaria anddiarrhea. Thus, the climaticand economic impact on Africa can be seen most in the health of Africans.
• Climatic changes also impact the security of the African people.A complex relationship exists between climate and security. Increasing competition for natural resourcesleads to conflicts between people and increases tensions among countries, leading to disputes over energy and land. Nations like Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia are highly insecurebecause of internal conflicts and unstable political conditions. Economic development in these countries is often hindered by their internal and external conflicts.
African women are highly vulnerable to climatic variations,especially in rural areas due to lack of knowledge and awareness of the dangers climatic changes pose. Women in Africa depend on subsistence farming for their food and livelihoods, and climate change can have a disastrous effect on their living conditions. We should recognize that women are the heart of the ecosystem and they need to be taken care of. Nations should implement policies that can help women adapt to climatic changes and sustain development.
Several nations and the World Bank are working to counteract African climate change and to minimize its adverse impact. They are trying to create a policy to proactively respond to climatic change, minimize negative effects and help in disaster management. To start, they are working with eight African countries and helping these nations respond to climatic changes and sustain economic development. Thus, these strategies will help in minimizing the climate impact, and the economy would be strengthened.
AGILE International is in the forefront of these efforts in Wester Africa.