According to an analysis by the World Bank, 86 million Africans could be forced to leave their countries due to changing weather patterns by 2050.
In a report released ahead of the Conference of the Parties 26th session in Glasgow, the Washington-based lender stated that forced movement in West Africa’s Lake Victoria basin and West Africa could occur in less time than ten years. For example, people dependent on fisheries and agriculture will seek refuge in more stable areas, to avoid extreme circumstances such as flooding, water scarcity and heat stress.
“From pastoralists traveling the Sahel to fishermen braving the seas, the story of West Africa is a story of climate migrants,” said Ousmane Diagana, World Bank’s vice president for western and central Africa. “As countries are experiencing increases in temperatures, erratic rainfall, flooding, and coastal erosion, Africans will face unprecedented challenges in the coming years,”
Africa has been badly hit by climate change-related disasters over the past decade, a trend that may continue, even if the continent accounts for less than 5% of the world’s greenhouse gases. One of these shocks was Cyclone Idai, which struck Mozambique in 2019 and caused more than 1000 deaths. Last year, Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya faced a food security threat from the worst desert-locust invasion in decades — which the United Nations linked to climate change.
“We can reduce and modulate the amount of climate-induced migration by as much as 30% or 60% under Lake Victoria basin and West Africa respectively,” Kanta Kumari Rigaud, the World Bank’s lead environmental specialist, said in an interview. “But only if we do things right.”If the changing weather patterns continue and the authorities don’t act against them, they could also increase the levels of poverty and conflict, according to the report said.
She stated that the global community and national as well as local governments must work together to achieve net zero emissions.
On Tuesday, $150 million of financing was announced by the World Bank to help support climate resilience in Kenyan villages. The so-called Financing Locally–Led Climate Action programs are led by the government and counties, according to Rigaud.
“Investments in resilience and adaptation can promote green industries,” said Hafez Ghanem, World Bank’s vice president for eastern and southern Africa. “When paired with investments in health, education, the digital economy, innovation, and sustainable infrastructure, they also have tremendous potential to create climate-smart jobs and boost economic growth.”