Climate Change Affects GDP of African Agro-Based Economies
Marine life faces challenges from warming waters and ocean acidification as a result of climate change. Photo by Fredrick Mugira

GEORGE MHANGO, in Zanzibar

Adverse flush floods and weather conditions across many African countries within the Great Africa Lakes Region are set to affect gross domestic products for agro-based economies if regional trade blocs do
not work together in providing collective solutions.

Already, Malawi and Uganda, which are also landlocked countries, are being affected in one way or the other.

A massive drop in Malawi’s GDP between 2014 and 2015 reduced forced President Peter Mutharika to declare a state of disaster for donors and other well-wishers to provide financial and material support to
the needy.

In a report last year, World Bank also predicted that most countries, especially in the Sadc Region would have their GDP affected due to poor harvests as a result of floods, drought and dry spells.

However, Minister of Second Vice President’s Office in Zanzibar, Muhammed Aboud, said during a media training on Climate Change and Opportunities that there is need for journalists from Africa to
intensify their reporting prowess so that authorities understand how serious the climate change affects economies.

“Extreme weather does not differentiate between the poor and the rich. Everybody is affected because floods bring drought likewise drought brings floods which in the end affects gross domestic product
(GDP),” he said.

Aboud added that journalists should also portray in their stories as to how the challenge continues to affect marine, agricultural and environmental services, which are key to any economy.

“Loss of marine services continues and there is need for more capacity building and the link to current talk of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). There is need for urgent action and the media needs to play a role,” he said.

Close to 35 African journalists courtesy of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and Media for Environmental, Science Health and Agriculture (Mesha Kenya), were being equipped with modern skills of reporting on climate change for policy makers and experts to provide solutions.

In her remarks, CSE Director General, Sunita Narain, said there is need for countries to venture into rain or flood water harvesting for agriculture and irrigation purposes.

“Floods and drought are about mismanagement of water. It is sad that, while we complain of floods authorities are not increasing sponges so that water is captured and recharged. This is where the media has to champion policy change,” Narain said.