WASHINGTON – The World Bank has issued a dire warning about the economic impact of climate change on Kenya, stating that without significant adaptation efforts, the nation could see up to a 7.25% reduction in its economic output by 2050. The ‘Kenya Country Climate and Development Report’ released today underlined the grave challenges posed by persistent droughts in the Horn of Africa, exacerbated by global warming.
The report also outlined that achieving the Kenyan government’s ambitious growth target of a 7.5% annual expansion through structural transformation could mitigate some of the predicted climate change-induced economic damages. This could potentially lower the projected losses to between 2.78% and 5.3%. To achieve this, the World Bank recommends that Kenya bolster investments in critical sectors such as agriculture, digital infrastructure, energy, transportation, and water resource management.
Kenya’s vulnerability to climate change is not only an economic concern but also poses a significant threat to public health and food security. The country is expected to witness a surge in diseases, with malaria cases projected to increase by 56% and waterborne diseases by 10% by 2050. Additionally, without adaptation measures, an estimated increase in poverty could affect 1.1 million more people by mid-century.
Despite contributing minimally to global emissions, Kenya’s economy is heavily reliant on sectors vulnerable to climate change. The agriculture sector, which comprised about 21% of its GDP in 2022, is already facing challenges from extreme weather events. With public debt surpassing 10.1 trillion shillings ($66 billion) as of June and a $2-billion eurobond repayment looming next year, Kenya’s financial capacity for addressing these issues is strained.
The World Bank’s report also highlights Kenya’s potential contribution to global emission reduction solutions, noting that over 90% of its power is generated from renewable sources like geothermal wells and hydro-generation. Expanding financial support for a broader range of climate projects could help make these initiatives more bankable and inclusive at the national level.
To combat these multifaceted threats posed by climate change, the World Bank estimates that Kenya will require approximately $62 billion by 2030 for necessary adaptation measures. This underscores the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to safeguard the nation’s economic stability and the well-being of its population against the backdrop of an ever-warming planet.
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