Climate change endangers 200 million Africans, costs continent $68b yearly

The African continent seems to be at the receiving end of all things unpleasant, including the side effects of climate change, even though Africa contributes the least in greenhouse emissions.

As the 2017 Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development is meeting in Addis Ababa to advocate for a green transformation and an industrialization that doesn’t harm the environment, close to 200 million Africans lead insecure lives due to climate change as their livelihoods depend on climate sensitive economic sectors.

“The continent loses an estimated $68 billion per year due to soil degradation, affecting 180 million people in Africa,” the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) said in a press release copied to

It cited Ms. Fatima Denton, Director of Special Initiatives Division at the ECA as saying that investing in effective management of environment assets is critical to reducing poverty and hunger and spur inclusive growth on the continent.

She said climate change constitutes a double-edged sword for the continent.

“it could constitute Africa’s greatest potential to adapt to impacts and to usher in a new model of sustainable development, but, on other hand, it could also decimate African fragile economies, thus compromising its ability to realize several of SDGs”, she was quoted as arguing.

Reducing Africa’s carbon emissions would not, harm our economy, she added.

The release indicated that the meeting, is also known as the tenth session of the ECA Committee on Sustainable Development.

Denton, the release said, argues that there are still many solutions as there are problems.

She appeals for a radical reconfiguration of Africa’s economies away from agricultural practices that are holding hostage many of the hard-working smallholder farmers who are unable to adopt modern practices that will transform their businesses into viable enterprises, it said.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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