200 million Africans at risk of hunger as climate change tightens its grip

africa/africans/climate change/food security

200 million Africans at risk of hunger as climate change tightens its grip


According to new research by the Center for Global Development (CGD), extreme weather conditions are expected to have severe repercussions on the economy, agricultural productivity, water resources, and energy security across the developing world. This report looks at the socioeconomic impact of rising temperatures and rapidly shifting weather patterns and extreme events in the Global South and particularly in Africa in the coming decades.


The comprehensive analysis reveals that even minor temperature rises, well below 2°C, could significantly affect socioeconomic factors in these regions. It is projected that over 200 million individuals in Africa might encounter severe hunger and undernourishment in the future due to the detrimental effects of extreme weather on crop yields and the value of farmland. Specifically, the report predicts agricultural production in Africa could decrease by up to 2.9% by 2030 and by 18% by the middle of the century, with farmland values potentially dropping between 36% and 61%. While definitive forecasts for other developing areas are yet to be established, the research suggests that crops reliant on rainfall are likely to be the hardest hit.


In addition to threatening food security food security, climate change is also expected to deepen poverty in the world’s poorest regions. The research predicts a 7.1% decline in Africa’s average per capita gross domestic product (GDP) over the long term, with country-specific economic losses estimated to be between 11.2% and 26.6% of GDP. Across the continent, poverty is expected to affect households that work in the agricultural sector the most, with revenue from crops likely to drop by 30% and poverty expected to rise anywhere between 20% and 30% when compared to a no-climate-change scenario.


As altered rainfall patterns impact the quality and spatial distribution of global water resources, regions vulnerable to droughts and flooding are also expected to see increased displacement rates and water shortages. In Africa alone, these changes are likely going to push more than 50 million people into water distress.  Philip Kofi Adom, the author of the study, warns, “If the threat of climate change remains unaddressed, the socioeconomic challenges of developing nations, especially in Africa, will intensify, undoing the developmental progress achieved over recent decades.”


The analysis follows months of record-breaking temperatures worldwide, with 2023 dubbed the hottest year in history and characterised by unprecedented extreme weather events that have brought about loss and devastation around the world. Developing nations, which suffer the most from these calamities yet contribute the least to the problem, have consistently sought to hold industrialized countries responsible. At the UN COP28 climate summit held in Dubai last year, representatives from almost 200 countries endorsed a framework for the Loss and Damage Fund, established at COP27, aimed at assisting developing nations in coping with the impacts of climate change. The framework, brought forward last month by the 24-member Transitional Committee (TC), assigned with the fund’s implementation, proposed guidelines on its operation, including details on funding allocation and contributor obligations.


The final text invites “financial contributions with developed country parties continuing to take this lead to provide financial resources for commencing the operationalisation of the Fund.” It also assures the World Bank as the fund’s host on a four-year interim basis – despite the US pushing to make this permanent. Developing nations initially expressed opposition to the idea of the Bank hosting the Fund due to their lack of confidence in the institution’s significant shift towards promoting climate action. Pledges for the fund exceeded US$700 million, including $300-400 million from the European Union (EU) collectively, $100 from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), $50 million from the UK, $17.5 million from the US, and $10 million from Japan. Nevertheless, critics pointed out that contributions to the Fund represent less than 0.2% of the economic and non-economic losses developing countries face every year from global warming, adding pressure to developed nations to enhance their contributions and provide additional pledges in line with their historical responsibility for loss and damage.


In conclusion, the CGD report and subsequent developments underscore a critical juncture in global climate policy and action. It calls for a concerted effort from developed nations to scale up their financial commitments and support mechanisms for developing countries grappling with the adverse effects of climate change. Strengthening international cooperation and financial support for climate adaptation and mitigation in vulnerable regions are imperative steps toward safeguarding global socioeconomic stability and progress.


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