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Foresight Africa 2024 - Chapter 2, Climate change
Brookings
2024.01.29
Africa is ground zero of the climate crisis. Over the past 60 years, Africa has recorded a warming trend that has generally been more rapid than the global average, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.2
The impact on lives and livelihoods is devastating. Over 110 million people in 2022 were impacted by the climate crisis in Africa.3 Food inflation reached its highest levels in three decades at on average 30%, compounded by the war in Ukraine.4
It is estimated that nearly 282 million people in Africa (about 20% of the population) are undernourished, and suffer from food insecurity on the continent.5 Droughts and flood are worsening agriculture productivity and increasing Africa’s dependence on food imports, worsening the current account balance, and displacing productive investments.
Improvements in livelihoods are correlated with climate events and policies. The response to the climate crisis in Africa broadly calls for a three-pronged approach: Mitigation, adaptation, and nature.
Despite its low emissions levels and favorable initial endowments, Africa must engage on all three fronts. With its increasing population, urbanization, and industrialization, emissions are set to increase in the medium term, but they can be managed and steered toward a progressive transition which delivers growth while protecting our planet.
The paradox of Africa: Africa is energy-access poor, it is renewable energy rich but a large part of its energy comes from coal and other fossil fuels. Of the 1.2 gigatons (Gt) of carbon dioxide emitted in 2020 in Africa, 40% came from fossil fuel-based electricity and heat generation, a quarter from transport and another 17% from productive uses. Closing the energy access gap will require an estimated annual investment of over $25 billion up to 2030.6
In 2022, African countries lost close to $9 billion as a result of loss and damage suffered and spend over 5-15% of their GDP per capita building it back.