Climate Change and Development in Africa Post COVID-19: Emerging Policy Considerations
Thursday, July 9, 2020
Online / 11am to 2pm GMT

There are many parallels between COVID–19 and climate change, and many lessons can be learned from the COVID response.  The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa estimates that COVID-19 could cause Africa’s economies will contract by between 1.8 – 2.6%, potentially pushing 27 million people into extreme poverty[1]. At the time of writing, Covid-19 has infected more than 3 million people worldwide, with over 200,000 deaths. The World Health Organization estimates that climate change related disasters are responsible for 150,000 deaths/year, and this is projected to rise to 250,000/year by 2030. In April 2019, cyclone Idai struck 3 southern African countries (Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe) resulting in over a thousand deaths; 2,486 persons injured; 196,255 households displaced; and 2 968,895 persons affected[2]. Add to this more than 800,000 hectares of crops destroyed just before harvest, over 3000 classrooms and 45 health facilities flattened. This single event alone also caused more than $3 billion damage to the economies of the 3 countries[3].  These costings relate to physical damage caused by high impact climate events, but it is impossible to calculate the cost of secondary impacts such as physical and emotional well-being, food and water scarcity, and the spread of mosquito-borne and water-borne disease, displacement, migration and so on caused by such events.