Droughts Are Hurting African Economies And It Will Only Get Worse.

By Ferdinand Bada on January 10 2020 in Economics

Climate change is intensifying drought conditions in Africa.
Climate change is intensifying drought conditions in Africa.

Africa is one of the fastest-growing continents in the world with a vast opportunity backed up by a 1.2 billion strong population. Such vast opportunities are the reason why four of the globe’s fastest-growing economies, that is, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Ghana, are from this region. However, projections and data show that the economic figures of 2019 are not reflective of the potential. In 2019, the growth rate in Sub-Saharan Africa rose by only 0.1% to 2.6% compared to 2018. This slow growth shows that there are certain factors at play with one of them being drought.

Drought And Its Effects On Africa

For some countries around the world, climate change is an abstract concept to be worried about later but not for Africa. A good example of such a country is South Africa, which has been hit hard by drought and other adverse climatic conditions this year. Close to 50 million people have been affected so far with the numbers increasing every day. Consequently, the government is forced to direct huge amounts of resources to help the affected people. For example, when the crisis hit, the World Food Program was in dire need of around $173 million immediately. All these are resources that could have been directed towards growth instead of repair and preventive measures.

Another region that is a good example is East Africa, which is an area prone to consecutive droughts coupled with instability. For years now, people in these regions are placed in constant fear of food scarcity. The reason for this is that these regions depend on agriculture as the main economic activity. For example, in Kenya, more than one million people in the coastal, northwestern, and northeastern regions are some of those who are most adversely affected. Away from agriculture, drought also affects other sectors of the economy such as hydroelectric power generation, losses of jobs, conflicts between communities, and other things.

How Can These Countries Improve?

To combat drought and boost the economy, African countries can implement some preemptive measures. For example, securing clean and safe drinking water will be key in advancing the economy. Estimates state that this venture could cost a massive $35 billion across Africa every year. These countries can also find ways of ensuring the farmers are catered for so that periods of drought do not affect agricultural output, which is crucial to the economy. Lastly, African nations can also benefit immensely from investing in green technology, which plays a key role in securing water and protecting the environment.

Other Factors

While looking at the economy, it is important to note that drought is not the only problem. Some of the other problems include public debt, corruption, poor infrastructure, and others. All these factors have contributed to the mammoth figure of about 416 million Africans living in extreme poverty.

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