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Climate Change and Economic Development in Africa: An Overview

Witness Simbanegavi and Channing Arndt ()

Journal of African Economies, 2014, vol. 23, issue suppl_2, ii4-ii16

Abstract: Recent studies indicate that climate change will negatively impact Africa's growth and development prospects, particularly in the absence of adaptation and mitigation. Losses of up to 4% of Africa's gross domestic product (GDP) are projected, and agriculture is a major economic impact channel given the high share of Africa's GDP accounted for by rain-fed agriculture. This calls for concerted efforts by African policy-makers and development partners to help Africa build adaptive capacity to reduce vulnerability. Climate finance is a critical ingredient in the efforts to build Africa's adaptive capacity and also in mitigation. Climate funding pledges made by the developed countries have not been realised however, with a large variance between pledges and actual contributions. On the other hand, the uptake of available climate funding for Africa has been slow, in part due to week capacity of African countries to develop and execute adaptation measures. Another important contribution from the papers in this supplement is the treatment of uncertainty in the assessment of economic impacts of climate change. Two of the complicating factors in the assessment of economic impacts are (i) uncertainty associated with climate change and (ii) the fact that climate can be very localised, with different climates for proximate localities. A methodological approach for handling these two challenges is developed and applied to the country of Malawi. Results indicate that overall implications of climate change on GDP growth are relatively small to 2050, but the losses from climate change tend to increase over time, suggesting that impacts may become larger post 20150.

Date: 2014
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Journal of African Economies is currently edited by Marcel Fafchamps

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