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April 15, 2024

Africa’s Fragile Nations at Risk of Climate Disaster -IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has issued a warning that climate change may pose grave threats to countries across Africa, especially fragile and conflict-ravaged states.

This message was released just after the World Bank Country Director, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, has said the bank would increase support for development programmes in Nigeria.

The IMF also warned that by 2040, such states could face 61 days a year of temperature above 35 degrees Celsius on average, four times more than other countries.

According to another report published in its blog post, the multilateral lender called on international partners to support the continent’s most vulnerable countries to adapt to extreme weather, adding that spillovers could become more disruptive.

IMF stated that as African leaders set to converge in Kenya for next week’s African Climate Action Summit, it was vital that they come up with solutions to support the vulnerable countries.

According to the IMF, from the Central African Republic to Somalia and Sudan, fragile states suffer more from floods, droughts, storms and other climate-related shocks than other countries, although they have contributed the least to climate change.

The report read: “Each year, three times more people are affected by natural disasters in fragile states than in other countries.

“Disasters in fragile states displace more than twice the share of the population in other countries. And temperatures in fragile states are already higher than in other countries because of their geographical location.

“By 2040, fragile states could face 61 days a year of temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius on average—four times more than other countries.

“Extreme heat, along with the more frequent extreme weather events that come with it, will endanger human health and hurt productivity and jobs in key sectors such as agriculture and construction.”

The IMF said that climate change indeed inflicts more lasting macroeconomic costs in fragile countries, adding that cumulative losses in gross domestic product reach about 4 per cent in fragile states three years after extreme weather events.

That compares with around 1 per cent in other countries, even as it pointed out that droughts in fragile states are expected to cut about 0.2 percentage points from their per-capita gross domestic product (GDP) growth every year.

“This means that incomes in fragile states will be falling further behind those in other countries.

“The more harmful effect of climate events in fragile states is not only because of their geographical location in hotter parts of the planet, but also because of conflict, dependence on rainfed agriculture, and lower capacity to manage risks.

“Conflict undermines the capacity of fragile states to manage climate risks. For example, in Somalia, the areas most severely affected by food insecurity and hunger due to the prolonged drought in 2021-22 were under the control of terrorist groups that thwarted delivery of humanitarian assistance.

“Climate shocks also worsen underlying fragilities, such as conflict and hunger, further exacerbating the effect they have on the economy and people’s wellbeing.

“Our estimates indicate that in a high emissions scenario, and all else equal, deaths from conflict as a share of the population could increase by close to 10 per cent in fragile countries by 2060.

“Climate change would also push an additional 50 million people in fragile states into hunger by 2060.

“The higher losses from climate events also reflect the dependence of fragile states on rain-fed agriculture.

“Agriculture represents close to one-quarter of economic output in fragile states, but only 3 per cent of cultivated areas are irrigated with canals, reservoirs, and the like. Rain-fed farms are especially vulnerable to droughts and floods,” the report noted.

Meanwhile, the World Bank Country Director, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, has explained that the bank would increase support for development programmes in Nigeria.

In his remarks when he led a World Bank team on a courtesy visit to the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Sen. Atiku Bagudu, he said his focus was to work with government at both the federal and state levels in transforming the country, as well as catalysing private investment and job creation.

Chaudhuri also stated that the multilateral institution was committed to investing in children and creating opportunities for Nigeria’s youth and women.

His words, “For Nigeria, we have been supporting a wide range of programmes, ranging from school projects, economic empowerment and energy for rural areas.

“We have a wide range of support, specifically, we discussed with the minister beyond financing, what we could do with ideas and experiences from other countries.

“In its critical role of budget and economic planning, budget function, we discussed with the minister how to ensure that public funds are spent as effectively and efficiently for the common good of Nigerian people.”

He said, “We are not just financing, we hope we can provide ideas and some experience from other countries.

“The World Bank operate in about 120 countries of the world. So, part of our role is to share experiences. For instance, what works in Indonesia could work in Nigeria. That is what we hope to do here.

“Specifically, we spoke about Nigeria’s Cash Programme, ongoing programmes implemented by the states, which the ministry is coordinating, not just for the federal government but for sub-nationals.”

He however appreciated the bank for all the support it had been providing to the ministry within the wider government circle.

Bagudu, in a statement issued by the ministry, reiterated the commitment of the ministry to strengthen cooperation with the World Bank to reinforce the mandate of the present administration to reposition Nigeria’s economy.

He explained that the engagement between the ministry and the bank was mainly in terms of blended development assistance projects with components of loans and grants from donors especially, the European Union.

Other areas of cooperation include technical assistance extended to the ministry by the World Bank.

He said, “They assured us of more support and appreciated the bold initiatives and measures that have been taken by Bola Tinubu’s administration to reposition the Nigerian economy.

“The social intervention and palliatives that are being rolled out to ensure that even though the reforms have caused hardship, the hardships can be assuaged by such social interventions.

“The initiatives are being discussed with both the coordinating minister and the minister and the president.”

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