By Georgina Goodwin
The African continent has warmed about half a degree over the last century and the average annual temperature is likely to rise an average of 1.5-4°C by 2099, according to the most recent estimates from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Africa is becoming the most exposed region in the world to the impacts of climate change. In Sub-Saharan Africa extreme weather will cause dry areas to become drier and wet areas wetter; agriculture yields will suffer from crop failures; and diseases will spread to new altitudes. By 2030 it is expected that 90 million more people in Africa will be exposed to malaria, already the biggest killer in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The environmental effects of climate change will have a direct impact on the economic development of many African countries with as much as nine to 20 percent of arable land becoming much less suitable for farming by 2080. Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, the World Bank’s lead environmental and natural resources specialist for Africa, said this: “Climate Change adaptation is not different from development,” she said. “With additional financing made available to countries and all of the different facets of this work coming together, I believe that we can begin to see a very different Africa in terms of climate change. We can remain hopeful that something positive is going to come out of this.”