Climate Change and Poverty Go Hand in Hand

“Climate change hits the poorest the hardest, and our challenge now is to protect tens of millions of people from falling into extreme poverty because of a changing climate.”

– The World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim

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The changing of the world’s climate has been an important topic for the past decade. We have seen some horrific natural disasters and watched destroyed countries and cities try to recover from the results. The fact is that climate change is already preventing people from poverty.

The World Bank Group released a new report that claims there could be more than 100 million additional people in poverty by 2030. That is, unless we can rapidly develop climate-smart and emission-reduction developments. The report, “Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty” will be presented at the international climate conference later this year.

Ultimately, the report discovers that poor people are already at high risk from climate-related shocks. Like what? Think about results of crop failures from reduced rainfall, spikes in food prices after these extreme weather events and increased incidences of diseases after heat waves and floods. These tough shocks wipe out hard-won gains and lead to irreversible losses that are driving people back into poverty, especially in Africa and South Asia.

The World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim has said, “This report sends a clear message that ending poverty will not be possible unless we take strong action to reduce the threat of climate change on poor people and dramatically reduce harmful emissions.”

The report shows information proving that the poorest people are more exposed to climate-related shocks like floods, droughts and heat waves than the average population. They lose much more of their wealth when they are hit.

Of the 52 countries that could be surveyed, 85 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where poor people are more exposed to drought than the average.

One analysis of 20 developing countries showed that collecting and redistributing energy taxes would benefit poor people despite higher energy prices, with the bottom 20 percent of the population experiencing a net $13 gain for each $100 of additional tax. Well-designed emissions-reductions programs that strengthen the productivity of agriculture and protect ecosystems could benefit 20-50 million low-income households by 2030 through payments for ecosystem services.

This report was perfectly timed to gather enough attention on how the climate affects the poor before negotiators father in Paris for the international climate talks. I hope that the find to end poverty and slow down climate change can be achieved if they are addressed together. The number of people in poverty is only going to increase and their living situations are going to become worse and worse. Let’s put actions into our development work now.

3 Reasons Why You Should Invest In Africa

“We are enjoying in Africa what I call the democracy dividend. The progress we are seeing, economic development are all part of the dividend of good governance, respect for human rights, rule of law. It has created an enabling environment that allows not only foreigners to come in and invest but for Ghanaians to invest. It has created an atmosphere for our young people to be creative, innovative…” – President John Mahama, Ghana

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China used to be where the big money was – low cost workers and huge factories were plentiful. Now, with the Chinese downturn there are new reconsiderations for future investments. One of them is the prospect of Africa. If you have not seen all of the signals that this is the new continent to invest in, here they are.

  1. Africa is growing fast

The World Bank released a report that 6 of the 12 fastest growing countries in the entire world are located in Sub-Saharan Africa. Half of the world’s population growth will be in Africa.

Africa has sure had its fair share of problems from physical geography (landlocked countries will disease-susceptible tropical climates) to manmade challenges such as corruption. However, when you view Africa as a long-term investment, the combination of demography and development make Africa a promising buy.

  1. China is already in Africa

For the past decade, China’s investments in infrastructure like mines, farms, roads, ports and railways have been the big story. However, they have also invested in energy to increase Africa’s raw materials like food, oil, diamonds and uranium.

Now, Africa is both a partner and rival to Chinese manufacturing of clothes, toys and electronics. Yes, right now Africans have to wait and see how much they will be affected by China’s economic slowdown. Most of the attention is focused on low commodity prices and possibly damaging capital flight.

  1. Western countries are absent

In ways of both governmental aid and private investment, the United States and European countries have been pretty minimal. Right now, western governments are cash strapped and have turned from public sector aid to more private sector investment as their global developmental strategy. However, this has not been working out well because the private sector is often deterred by the high risks involved in investing in Africa.

So, when you put these three factors altogether, it does look like the perfect time for American businesses to consider Africa for long-term growth possibilities. In the next 100 years, the consuming middle class African will be a huge driver of economic activity.

In major cities in big countries, the middle class demand is already very real. With better infrastructure, more efficiency, less corruption and more urbanization, investing in Africa will become the new source of wealth.