Climate Change Affects GDP of African Agro-Based Economies

GEORGE MHANGO, in Zanzibar
June 8, 2018

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.

Water Journalists Africa

Legitimately registered in Uganda, Water Journalists Africa was established in 2011 in Cape Town, South Africa with support from the UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication. Water Journalists Africa has since 2011, partnered with various international and Africa based organizations such as the UN-Water, The Water Channel, Water Integrity Network, 2030 Water Resources Group and UNESCO-IHE among several others to enhance reporting on Integrated Water Resources Management in Africa and promote interaction among African Journalists who report on water. Some 700 journalists from 50 African countries to date are members of this network making it certainly the largest media network on the continent.

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