African countries, which are the least responsible for the global climate crisis, face seeing their GDP growth rate fall by up to 64% by the end of the century, even if the world succeeds in limiting global heating to 1.5C., according to a study commissioned by Christian Aid.
It found that burning fossil fuels at the current rate will have a huge impact on the finances of African countries. The average hit to GDP per capita could be as much as 34%, finds the report, while the effect on GDP growth will lead to an average 20% reduction in rates by 2050 and a huge 64% on average by 2100.
The 54 countries of Africa account for 15% of the world’s population but contribute less than 4% of the CO heating the planet, in contrast to 27% from China, 15% from the US and 17% from the EU. But it is the continent most affected by catastrophic climatic changes such as rising sea level and melting glaciers, as well as increasingly erratic and destructive extreme weather events such as drought, wildfires, floods and heatwaves.
Under current climate policies, the GDP growth of eight countries – Sudan, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, and Nigeria – could be reduced by as much as 75%. The worst hit nations generate less than 0.43 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO) per person, in contrast to the US and Canada generating 14 and Saudi Arabia 18 tonnes per person. Sudan, where this year heavy rains and flash floods affected more than 250,000 people in 15 out of 18 provinces, economic growth could be hit by a staggering 84% under global current climate policies.
"...these numbers might be conservative estimates,” said Marina Andrijevic, an economist at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna and a study co-author.
So far this year, more than 200,000 homes have been destroyed by floods and landslides in Nigeria, while 37 million people face starvation after four consecutive droughts in the Horn of Africa.
A UN report published last week found that international adaptation finance is five to 10 times below what developing countries actually need, and the gap is widening every year.