Climate change adaptation to cost Africa up to $50 bln a year, 3% of GDP: IMF

Doaa A.Moneim , Friday 16 Oct 2020

Climatic change in sub-Saharan Africa affects 13 million people and causes $520 mln in direct economic damages annually, according to the IMF

Huge funds
Huge funds are needed to off-set the impact of climate change and pollution. Reuters

Climate change adaptation, including expanding in green investments, is estimated to cost Africa between $30 billion and $50 billion per year over the next decade, which is between 2 percent and 3 percent of the continent’s annual GDP, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

During a virtual panel held on Friday as a part of the IMF and the World Bank Group’s annual meetings, Genet Zinabou, a member of the fiscal affairs department at the fund, asserted the need for the continent to secure funds from international financial institutions to make significant investments.

She said that greenhouse gas emissions on a per capita basis are still relatively low, but the region is nonetheless extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

African countries are facing rising temperatures, rising sea levels, and increased anomalies and rainfall patterns, she also said.

“We estimated that one additional drought can reduce Africa’s medium-term economic growth by up to 1 percent. Households that experience a shock of flood or a drought are up to 20 percent more likely to report food insecurity. People really need protection,” said Zinabou.

For his part, Seung Mo Choi, an official at the IMF’s African department, noted that policy makers in African countries have to focus on three essential areas to avoid the hard effects of climate change on their economies, including enhancing key infrastructure, investing in people (in education and health in particular), and strengthening coping mechanisms (especially social protection nets) and improving living standards.

According to the IMF, climatic change in sub-Saharan Africa is especially pronounced, causing intensified temperature extremes, precipitation anomalies, and natural disasters. Since the turn of the century, it has been annually responsible for at least 1,000 deaths, while 13 million people are seriously affected (injured, left homeless, food insecure, or lacking water and sanitation), and $520 million has been caused in direct economic damage.

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