Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, has speculated that Africa’s Gross Domestic Product could contract by as much as 30% by the year 2050, if urgent actions are not taken for the continent to adapt to climate change.
President Kenyatta, in an address at an event hosted by the Global Center on Adaptation, noted that an investment in Africa and other developing countries in climate change programs will go a long way to help them.
“An investment of $800 million in developing countries, in climate adaptation programs, would see and result in benefits of up to $16 billion per year.”President Kenyatta
While African countries contribute relatively little to climate change in terms of carbon emissions, they are among the hardest hit, partly because, they rely heavily on rain-fed farming. Rising temperatures and sea levels — as well as rainfall anomalies — have heightened the frequency and intensity of natural disasters.
It is no coincidence that most disasters in Africa are flood-related, although drought has the greatest impact, affecting five times the number of people, said Patrick Verkooijen, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Center on Adaptation.
President Kenyatta, disclosed that, Kenya, like other Sub Saharan African countries, which are battling a severe drought, has committed to invest about $8 billion over the next decade on climate-change adaptation projects. However, he noted that the investment is 10% of what it needs to spend as part of commitments under the Paris Agreement, also known as Nationally Determined Contributions. He stated that his country is looking for partners to help fund the rest.
The Washington-based lender, the World Bank, stated on Wednesday, October 27, in a statement that it has approved $150 million for climate projects in Kenya. The International Development Association credit will support projects to boost resilience against climate change in Kenya’s rural communities. There’s also a $21.4 million grant from Social Sustainability Initiative for All Umbrella Multi-Donor Trust Fund with resources from Denmark and Sweden.
Nicholas Soikan, World Bank Senior Social Development Specialist and Task Team Leader, noted that the fund is target at those in the hinterlands and are worst hit.
“Communities in rural areas, especially those in arid and semi-arid regions which have been affected by the impacts of climate change such as droughts and floods, outbreaks of climate-related diseases, low farmland productivity, and declining livestock, will be the primary beneficiaries of the program.”Nicholas Soikan
However, climate is simply the average weather in a place over many years. Climate change is a shift in those average conditions. The rapid climate change we are now seeing is caused by humans using oil, gas and coal for their homes, factories and transport. When these fossil fuels burn, they release greenhouse gases – mostly carbon dioxide (CO2). These gases trap the Sun’s heat and cause the planet’s temperature to rise.
The world is now about 1.2C warmer than it was in the 19th Century, and the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has risen by 50%. If climate change is not checked early enough, it will lead to devastating consequences than we are witnessing today in the form of flood, sea rise and others.