Africa’s economic growth will suffer from rising global temperatures

As the global population hits 8 billion, some of the world’s fastest growing populations will be most at risk from climate change, with emerging economies like Africa and South East Asia will suffer from worker productivity and it will affect sectors ranging from agriculture and mining to oil, gas, and manufacturing, and the whole world could feel the aftermath, claims new research from risk consultancy firm Verisk Maplecroft. The report shows that Africa, especially West region will bear the most economic damage from rising temperatures over the next three decades unless steps are taken to mitigate the impact of rising temperatures.

It is one of the unfair ironies of climate change that some of the world’s poorest citizens will be those hit hardest – Businessgreen

The paper found that between 2026 and 2045 workers across Africa and South East Asia will struggle to cope with sharp spikes in peak temperatures, resulting in slumping labor productivity rates. Meanwhile growing demand for power as people move to cities and crank up air conditioning will raise the risk of power cuts, threatening firms’ ability to source from, and operate in, affected countries. VeriskMaplecroft suggests more than 10 percent of export value – almost US$10bn a year – could be at risk by mid-century. Nigeria has already experienced heavy rains and thunderstorms, while lower rainfall and increased desertification in other areas have been blamed for unrest and killings –  Oil outputs from the country, West Africa’s largest economy, are likely to suffer, while cocoa exports from Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana are particularly vulnerable.

South East will also be hard hit, in part because of its larger economy, with 5.2 per cent (US$78bn) of the region’s export value at risk. In particular, its manufacturing sector may struggle to maintain output, with the risk centring on the manufacturing hubs of Vietnam and Thailand.


The report notes that as temperature rises, firms will also face an average of eight power outages a month. This will put supplies at risk and undermine government efforts to strengthen energy infrastructure. This will also definitely exacerbate the electrification problem the continent already faces: more than 600 million people in Africa still lack electricity, with sub-Saharan Africa accounting for the lowest household electrification rate in the world, Quartz reports.

It’s pretty much established that energy demand for cooling will rise, but the real question for investors is whether aging power systems will be able to handle peak demand, Identifying these risks early and implementing measures to mitigate the worst impacts is going to be crucial for businesses operating in these markets over the long-term.” –  Alice Newman, environment and climate change analyst at Verisk Maplecroft.

Richard Ogundiya

Journalist & Techpreneur. Africa, communications and data.

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