Reducing Africa’s Vulnerability to Climate Change
The sixth African Economic Conference went into its second day on Wednesday in Addis Ababa, where delegates are focusing on thematic environmental and climate issues affecting African countries.
Two French academics - Patrick Guillaumont, and Catherine Simone – disclosed that they had produced a new indicator of physical vulnerability to climate change, which determined the extent to which countries are vulnerable to climate change.
The index focuses on the physical consequences of climate change that can directly affect people’s welfare and activity, rather than on an assessment of the economic consequences. According to the researchers, the indicator confirms previous United Nations data on Africa’s high vulnerability to climate change phenomena such as draught. It was found to be useful in determining climate change adaptation, mitigation measures and resource allocation.
Improved agricultural practice such as irrigation and modern cropping methods have been recommended for application in rural parts of the continent ravaged by the negative impacts of climate change Participants discussed two case studies in Lagos, Nigeria and Abomey in neighbouring Benin.
A paper on the impact of climate change on rural livelihoods in Lagos State, Nigeria, which accounts for 36 percent of the states 17 million population, suggested deploying modern methods of agriculture to enhance food security. Lagos is among Africa’s fastest urbanising cities and this is creating environmental problems, in addition to frequent floods, according to the study conducted by G.O. Akolade of Lagos State Polytechnic.
Researchers at Abomey University in Benin highlighted a novel mitigation experience in agricultural lands prone to heavy rains and flood. This consists of recovering the “excess” rainwater for irrigation agriculture practiced by peasant farmers including women and young people who would otherwise by jobless.
Experts noted that rehabilitating Africa’s agriculture through climate adaptation would go a long way in enabling the continent to achieve green growth, create jobs and reduce food imports. Africa spends some USD 50 billion on food imports on average annually.