Over the past 20 years, climate related disasters have increased exponentially in Africa. Although the mortality rate due to disasters is decreasing, the number of people affected, and the economic impact of disasters on the continent, is rising. This can be largely ascribed to improvements in development (including urbanisation) and economic activities.
Despite these improvements, the economic and social growth achieved so far is very fragile and susceptible to climate risks and disasters hence negating the progress made towards achievement of national goals and overall attainment of Agenda 2063 and global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to the World Bank (2019), many African countries have made significant development achievements in the last few decades with annual growth averaging 4.5 percent, but increasing weather, water, and climate risks threaten these gains. Since 1970, Africa has experienced more than 2,000 natural disasters, with just under half taking place in the last decade (World Bank, 2019).
The vulnerability of the African Continent was recently evident when more than 1000 people were killed across Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe due to Cyclone Idai. The World Bank estimates that the economic loss from cyclone Idai is around $2 billion dollars. Cyclone Kenneth followed Idai in quick succession.
This time Mozambique was struck again in addition to Comoros. Epidemics including Ebola are also a serious concern on the continent. The differentiated impact on men and women, vulnerable groups, minorities and migrants across the continent is exacerbated mostly by climate change, environmental degradation, unplanned urbanization, inequality, as well as disaster induced displacement and conflicts. Countries recovering from protracted civil wars and post disasters, and small island states are particularly vulnerable to climate change and natural hazards.