I already see evidence of this during my travels across Sub-Saharan Africa, where high levels of poverty, highly variable and unpredictable weather, limited livelihood options, weak infrastructure, insufficient access to productive resources, and scarce safety nets all combine to make Africans even more vulnerable to climate risks.
News headlines of droughts throughout the region portend a future of more frequent extreme weather events. A projected 2 degree Celsius rise in average temperatures by mid-century could substantially reduce the land that is suitable for growing Africa’s staple foods, and reduce crop yields by up to 20%. African agriculture is not only highly vulnerable to climate risks, it is also a part of the climate problem—agriculture and land use changes contribute 25% of of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Already, around 220 million people–or one in four Africans– are undernourished in sub-Saharan Africa due to a lack of sufficient or nutritious food. This number could increase to 330 million by 2050 if appropriate adaptation measures are not taken to help the continent cope with climate change.
Food production in Sub-Saharan Africa needs to increase by 60% over the next 15 years to feed a growing population. Feeding Africa with nutritious and safe food will require a more sustainable, climate-smart food system. Without major investments in agriculture, the average African would have access to 21% fewer calories and climate change would increase the number of malnourished children by 10 million.
Without action, climate change will erode Africa’s hard-won development achievements and jeopardize its prospects for further growth and poverty reduction.
But there is positive news. African agriculture is well-positioned for transformational change.
Read more on The World Bank
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