Abstract: affecting the economies of developed as well



Africa is a continent with diverse land, sea, rivers, and lakes and has
many species of various types such as mammals, plants, different types of
birds. The ecosystem such as savannah and the coral reefs etc. Several
countries rely on these eco systems for economic reasons. The ecosystem
provides the countries with food, water, and shelter. Even though the ecosystem
has so much importance a climatic change has been affecting it and the
livelihood of those who depended on them are under threat. This paper will try
to investigate the impact of climate change and their adverse effects on
livelihood in countries such as Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya (i.e. East
Africa) and  the impact is mostly from
climate change but also socioeconomic problems asb is illustrated in this
paper. The sustainable development goal thirteen of the United Nations (UN) is
to take action to combat climate change and its impacts and countries must
address the climate change in order to achieve other SDG’s ( e.g goal  one aiming for NO Poverty etc). I strongly
believe the impact of climate change has direct or indirect consequences on
many of the sustainable development goals. My paper will focus in the case of
East Africa and will show the impacts of the change in climate in the regions
and its catastrophic consequences.

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Climate change is becoming a real thing for the whole world. The global
surface temperature of the world rose to about 0.8 degree Celsius in the past
twentieth century and to about 0.6 degree Celsius in just the previous two
decade mainly due to human activities. The past twentieth century was the
warmest looking at four hundred years back. The greenhouse gas emission is the
main factor that contributes to the climate change which results in global
warming. If the emissions still continue to rise the global temperature will be
rising from 1.4 degree Celsius up to 5.8 degree until the end of twenty first century.
Climate change is projected to increase median temperature by 1.4–5.5
degree celsius and median precipitation by ?2 %  to  20 %
 by the end of the twenty first  century. (cite this 5) It is obvious that the impact from the change in climate is affecting
the economies of developed as well as developing countries. The effects may be
seen as changes in water availability which affects the level of sea and this
will definitely have impact on tourism sector of the countries in East Africa.

The change in climate, such as rising temperature, changes in
precipitation, has adversely affected the biodiversity, the eco system and the
people. Africa is mostly affected by the change in climate since it is a
continent already hit by wars, conflicts, poverty etc because of its weak
institutions and less government efforts towards economic and development progress.
The effects of climate will be aggravating the situation as slow growth,
poverty, disease, and high population which will result in high demand for
food, water etc.



Climate Change in the Future

Overall Africa has warmed 0.7 C over the twentieth century and general
circulation models project warming across Africa ranging from 0.2 degree
celsius per decade (low scenario) to more than 0.5 degree celsius per decade
(high scenario) (Hulme et al.,2001). According to Hulme ,due to the warming
climate East Africa will experience fluctuations in rainfall seasons at various
times thus it will see high rainfall between December and February and low
rainfall between June and August approximately until the year 2050. These
fluctuations at different times will render a change in water availability in
the region in which the people rely for food, agriculture, and economic
benefits such as tourism will be badly affected. This paper will highlight some
of the impacts and the issues of sustainability in the region.


Will Water be Available in the region?   

It is agreed by many that the most adverse
effects of climate change in East Africa will be changes in precipitation
frequency, intensity and predictability. The likely outcome from the effects of the change in regional
precipitation will be reduction in water availability and will lead to the
reduction of productivity in agriculture. It will have adverse effects in
health, tourism, biodiversity and coastal development which are also
highlighted below.

Projections of climate change suggest that East Africa will experience
warmer temperatures and a five to twenty percent increased rainfall from
December to February and five to ten percent decreased rainfall from June to
August by 2050 (Hulme et al ., 2001; IPCC, 2001). There will be different
scenarios in the precipitation every year because the changes may not be
uniform and not easy to predict. The fact that in some of the years the region
will see high precipitation which will exacerbate erosion and in other year
less precipitation which will result in drought and more desertification. It is
believed by some researchers the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which is
a phenomenon with dominant force to influence other climate patterns to vary, had
been playing its role in affecting the climate in East Africa.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO) of the United Nations (UN) stated that several food crises in Africa
affected water supplies thus reduced productivity which aggravated famine in
East Africa. (FAO, 2004). Moreover, the decreasing moisture vital for
agro-pastoral activities, and availability of water for consumption is at risk.
The rivers which are important for the people’s water consumption have reduced
flow due to low rainfall as a result of climate change. For example Tanzania
has a total population of over fifty two million and twenty three million people
who drink unsafe water due to water scarcity caused by extreme heat and dry
climate Therefore it is inevitable that those people drinking unsafe water will
be subject to several diseases and many people especially children will die as
a result. The scarcity of water also reduced agricultural production and the
production of hydropower in rivers like Pangani have been declining and the
biodiversity is also affected by that. The killmanjaro’s glaciers are the
source for feeding the Pangani basin. However, the glaciers are melting down at
pace and is at risk of complete meltdown. The cause for the reduced flow of
Pangani River has been due to the adverse effect of climate change. The Pangani
basin has an economic benefit to over three million people from Tanzania and
some from Kenya who depend on it for agriculture and fisheries. According to
latest studies the flow has been reduced from several hundreds to forty cubic
meters per second. However the water basin is not only caused by climate change
but also by the growing population  in
the region, more cutting of trees, the number of livestock increased, and the
cultivated land is expanding, mining, fishing, hydroelectric power are also
putting pressure to the reduction in flow.

Food Sustainability in the region Secured?

There is a strong link between climate and East
African livelihoods and food security highly vulnerable to climate variability
such as shifts in growing season conditions (IPCC, 2001).

et al. use crop models to calculate changes in agricultural production
to 2030. The results show that climate change is likely to reduce agricultural
production, thus reducing food availability. Other researchers analysis for
example by (Meehl et al. (2007) ) revealed that daily minimum temperatures
will increase more rapidly than daily maximum temperatures leading to the
increase in the daily mean temperatures and a greater likelihood of extreme
events and these changes could have detrimental effects on grain yield. This
holds true for the countries in East Africa. As I mentioned earlier, the
people’s livelihood in East Africa heavily depends on Agricultural activity.
For example The Tanzanian economy is heavily based on
agriculture, which accounts for 24.5 percent of gross domestic
product, and Kenya’s GDP from agriculture is 24.2 percent.
(cite this 4) . The long cycle crops (e.g. maize
and sorghum) in the region are very much influenced by rainfall variations
during wet season. However due to the change in climate and also change in
moisture because of that, the yield from growing the long cycle crops have been
low in autumn. As a result there is negative impact on the food supply due to
low agricultural productivity. Also the fisheries is also influenced by the
climate change for example fishes like Tilapia mariae which are used to warm water prefer a certain amount (threshold)
of warmth between 25 degree Celsius to 33 degree Celsius. The species is
eurythermal  with upper and lower lethal
temperatures 37 degree Celsius and 11 degree Celsius respectively, and a
preferred temperature range of 25-33 degree Celsius. (Siemien and Stauffer 1989).
If the temperature exceeds the threshold fishes of this type will be endangered
and the food supply will be affected by that.

Health Impacts from climate change

Climate change will have adverse health effects
on societies in the world. Although gradual, the heating (warming) of the
planet earth will surely influence public health. The extreme heat waves,
floods, and intense storms could result in several human health problems. For
example:  frequent and severe heat
stress, breathing problems, and respiratory diseases (e.g asthma) are among the
several diseases that are likely to prevail. Additionally, as I have
highlighted earlier that climate change has a negative impact on agricultures
productivity and people suffer from malnourishment and this will aggravate any
efforts made towards poverty alleviation. Moreover, due to changes in climate
patterns there is always risk of flooding in which water borne diseases such as
malaria, dengue fever etc. are likely to outbreak. According to recent studies
climate will increase malaria outbreaks in the tropics, the highland regions
and East Africa.

Extreme weather fluctuations and its effects


is the most prevalent disaster in North Africa, the second most common in East,
South and Central Africa, and the third most common in West Africa (AWDR,

is a result of a climate change in East Africa. Basically the warming
temperature is affecting the climate patterns thus excessive rainfall are
frequent and most devastating through flooding. 
The rivers and lakes overflow due to heavy rainfall and causing
socioeconomic destructions. For example destruction of dams, bridges, roads,
etc. The people in the region are exposed to risks of flooding at all times. After
every flooding there are people displaced whose homes destroyed and will be
forced to live in tents (temporary shelter) hosted by aid agencies. There is
highest probability of diseases to be spread among them. Children are among the
most vulnerable to illness due to low hygiene e.g. diarrhea is common disease
in temporary shelters.


The flooding in the region not only destroys
lives and infrastructures but also the agriculture, as most of the countries in
the region depend on it. The floods destroy farmlands and sweep away the crops
and the people will be left with nothing. The extreme heat or fluctuating
temperatures in the region also causes drought due to low rainfall in some
instance. Therefore the impacts of climate disrupts all efforts by the
governments to improve socioeconomic well being of the societies thus
sustainable development goals (SDG’s) may not be viable without addressing the
issues of climate  change.

The rise in Sea Level

The impact of
climate change can also have a detrimental effect on East African economies in
sectors such as mining, fisheries and tourism etc. The changes or rising in
surface temperature influences the sea level to rise and thus creates changes
in the ecosystem e.g. loss of coral reefs which are important for sea life. The
coral reefs ensure the continuity of the life of various fish species in sea,
oceans etc. If the coral reefs are destroyed and there will be no fishes
available for fishermen that means there will be no food or no income for the
societies in the coast to live on which will also put them on poverty trap. In
addition to this, experts say that the sea level rise results in coastal
erosion, meaning there is a socioeconomic impact on people who depend on the
sea which may include as loss of rural land productivity and reduction of the
people’s property in terms of price or value, Tanzania and Kenya are good
examples in the case of coastal erosion. These countries will be dealing with a
horrible effect of sea level rise. Although the main cause for sea level rise
is believed to be the warming of the water surface another factor which is the
melting of the iceberg of the two polar (Antarctic and Arctic oceans) is also affecting
sea level to rise which makes an overflow leading to floods and destroying
properties, humans etc on the shores. Moreover the salty water may end up in
the fresh waters and creating another problem in the availability of fresh
water for human consumption. In the case of Kenya, Mozambique, and Tanzania the
issue has been raised on different occasions such as the Paris summit and many
scientists believe it is an issue that needs to be dealt globally.

The Issue of Biodiversity

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted, if the human
activities such as burning of fossil fuels continue and the average temperature
of the earth’s surface will rise to about six degree Celsius until 2100. It
also warns that the loss of biodiversity will be catastrophic. This is because
all the species have specified range of temperature that may tolerate but with
the reckless human activities these species will face extinction and it is hard
to imagine how humans would be able to live on since these species are
important for the ecosystem. In East Africa there are forests which stretch along
the coasts of countries like southern Somalia, Kenya, and Mozambique where
there are many animals and plants which are not found anywhere in the world (e.g.
Pakenham’s river frog is an endangered species only found on Tanzanian Island) but
with the growing population, agricultural activities and deforestation in the
region these species of plants and animals are under threat.  According to some studies estimate only ten
percent of the original forest remains while seventeen percent of them are under


The climate
change is a real concern for the whole world. The United Nations urged
countries from around the world to keep average increase in temperature below 2
degree Celsius and thus combat climate change and its effects in the Paris agreement
on 12 December 2015. In my opinion, the climate change has catastrophic results
on economies, communities, lives, and countries. This is because; with the
increasing temperature of the earth there will be an impact on health, food, biodiversity,
and so forth. The change is an issue that will definitely put countries under
pressure if they are going to achieve all other goals of sustainable
development. For example If climate change results in flooding, communities
will be displaced due to destruction on their property, crops and will be at
risk of getting infected by several diseases  and so forth. Therefore, combating the
challenges of climate change must be prior task of countries if they are going
to achieve other goals. As for my understanding, if total global warming is
affecting sea levels to rise where floods, drought etc are inevitable, it can
only be dealt globally or at international level. I have tried to highlight the
impacts of climate change in East Africa and the results are what I discussed earlier.
Therefore, all countries must keep their pledges they made at Paris agreement
and must show absolute commitment toward reduction of their carbon emissions
and promote green technologies. The probability of achieving goal 13 of the
United Nations depends on each country but mostly the developed countries (e.g.
the US) willingness to fulfill their duties otherwise it would be difficult to
achieve the sustainable development goal 13 and other goals which surely be affected
by it directly or indirectly. The biggest emitters must show commitment to cutting
their emissions.