This report provides a snapshot of climate trends, observed high-impact events and associated risks and impacts on key sensitive sectors in Africa during the year 2020. The report also draws lessons on existing compounded effect of COVID-19, and pathways for investment for improving climate action in the continent. Currently, Africa is experiencing a significant warming trend along with sea level rise higher than the global mean rate on its South Atlantic and Indian Ocean coasts. Glaciers in African summits like Mount Kilimanjaro are retreating quickly and may completely disappear by the 2040s. Higher-than-normal precipitation predominated in the Sahel, the Rift Valley, the central Nile catchment and north-eastern Africa, the Kalahari basin and the lower course of the Congo River are expected to increase flood risks. The compounded effects of protracted conflicts, political instability, climate variability, pest outbreaks and economic crises were the key drivers of a significant increase in food insecurity.
The report notes the impacts that are likely to result from unmitigated hazards. In sub-Saharan Africa, food insecurity increases by 5–20 percentage points with each flood or drought. An estimated 12% of all new population displacements worldwide occurred in the East and Horn of Africa region, with over 1.2 million new disaster-related displacements and almost 500 000 new conflict-related displacements. In sub-Saharan Africa, adaptation costs are estimated at US$ 30–50 billion each year over the next decade, to avoid even higher costs of additional disaster relief. Climate-resilient development in Africa requires investments in hydrometeorological infrastructure and early warning systems to prepare for escalating high-impact hazardous events. Household surveys by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in several countries found that broadening access to early warning systems and to information on food prices and weather has the potential to reduce the chance of food insecurity by 30 percentage points. Finally, rapid implementation of African adaptation strategies will spur economic development and generate more jobs in support of economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.