The World Bank on Monday urged five West African countries to diversify their economies to adapt to climate change, warning they are extremely vulnerable to extreme weather patterns.
A report said Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger -- all in the arid Sahel region -- are among the world’s least developed countries and therefore the most vulnerable to extreme droughts, floods and heatwaves.
According to its Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) for the G5 Sahel region, annual GDP could fall by as much as 11.9% in Niger and by 6.8% in Burkina Faso by 2050 under pessimistic climate scenarios.
The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement and the additional estimates in the CCDR show that over $30 billion are needed across the G5 Sahel countries for climate actions.
The report also showed that damage from climate change can be significantly reduced.
“There are significant opportunities for more resilient development in the Sahel,” said Clara de Sousa, World Bank Country Director for Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger.
“This diagnostic provides a roadmap to help countries scale up reforms and investments to diversify their economies in more resilient and inclusive ways.”
Social protection programs and agricultural landscape initiatives to adopt effective resource management practices and increase use of adaptive technologies could be scaled up to mitigate the impact of the food security crisis and help the agriculture sector become more climate resilient in the medium term, the report noted.
It pointed out that the five countries are developing Adaptive Social Protection systems to provide regular cash transfers and services to the poorest and most vulnerable households, allowing them to cope with, and adapt to future climate-related shocks.