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‘Weather shocks posing risks to growth prospects’

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Nancy Tembo

The latest Global Climate Risk Index by the German Watch has reiterated that climate change continues to pose a great risk to economic growth prospects for Malawi and other countries.

Data from the firm show that between 2000 and 2019, losses of $2.56 trillion across the globe were incurred in Purchasing Power Parities as a result of more than 11,000 extreme weather events, with Malawi being among the most affected in 2019.

The risk index displayed Malawi ranking at position five on a list of 10 most affected countries because of the tropical cyclone Idai, which led to absolute losses of $452 million (K365 billion) in Purchasing Power Parities.

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The cyclone had also affected Mozambique and Zimbabwe, which caused disastrous damage and a humanitarian crisis in the three countries leading to economic losses amounting to $2.2 billion.

Climate change experts have said increasing temperatures and intense rain leads to drought and flooding in some parts of the country, leading to food shortages, poor crop yields and much shorter growing seasons.

Civil Society Network on Climate Change National Coordinator Julius Ng’oma said the country suffers the most from climate change effects.

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“Whenever there is drought or floods, the agriculture sector is affected. This equally affects exports earning,” Ng’oma said.

He said Malawi should consider drawing up laws towards conserving the climate and mitigating effects of the weather-related shocks.

Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services Director Jolamu Nkhokwe said the country should deploy efforts towards decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.

He also said there was a need for emphasis on increased human capacity to cope with changes in climate by using weather information to ensure farmers use drought-resilient crops.

Earlier this year, Forestry and Natural Resources Minister Nancy Tembo said the country would access two-year funding through the International Institute for Environment and Development amounting to €200,000 (K193 million) for use in implementing climate change adaptation and resilience activities in the country.

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