ENVIRONMENT – Protecting citizens and growth in the face of climate change

To what extent will rising temperatures affect agricultural production and migration patterns in East Africa, and are governments ready to respond?

Chapter Contents:

Climate change poses a major threat to East Africa

  • Climate change in East Africa will see temperatures continue to increase, water become scarcer and sea levels rise to the point of flooding coastal settlements.
  • The changing environment will put rural livelihoods at risk and raise questions about food security, with temperatures exceeding the tolerance of staple crops and lakes becoming less habitable for fish.
  • The number of climate refugees in East Africa is projected to rise from about 1.8 million in 2020 to between 6.9 million and 10 million by 2050.


While governments and donors recognise the need to adapt agricultural practices in response to climate change, policies and programmes have had a limited impact thus far

  • The cost of adapting to climate change in rural areas will be higher in Africa than in other world regions, with significant investment required in irrigation, data collection and extension services.
  • While governments in East Africa have introduced climate-smart agriculture policies, the incentives for farmers to adopt new practices have not yet materialised.


In East Africa, there is strong commitment to widening access to clean energy and cooking

  • At the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), African governments set ambitious targets on renewable energy capacity and clean cooking access, backed by significant investment.
  • Of all the sub-Saharan Africa regions, East Africa is expected to achieve the fastest growth in its electrification rate up to 2030 due to significant investment in the grid and the proliferation of pay-as-you-go solar home systems.