ENVIRONMENT – Managing risks and opportunities in a fast-changing landscape
How will a changing climate impact Kenya’s development trajectory?
PART A: UNDERLYING TRENDS
Compounding human-induced land degradation, climate change is set to harm agricultural production and exacerbate conflicts over natural resources.
- Kenya’s climate has become more volatile in recent years and this trend appears set to continue, as temperatures rise and extreme weather events become more frequent.
- The country’s land is becoming less productive – at a time of rapid population growth and urbanisation. By 2040, food consumption is expected to outrun production by 20 million metric tonnes.
- There are growing tensions over land and water.
Owing to increasing public pressure, efforts to mitigate climate change and conserve land will intensify.
- Signalling a commitment to change, the government has enacted important environmental legislation in recent years, such as the plastic bag ban in 2017 and the National Climate Change Action Plan 2018–2022.
- Stronger and more concerted action is necessary, but there are reasons to be optimistic that change is possible in the short-term (due to grassroots activism), medium-term (due to the use of climate-smart tech) and long-term(due to greater regional & global collaboration).
PART B: IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON THE ENVIRONMENT IN KENYA
Emerging amid extreme climate events, COVID-19 has stressed Kenya’s food system.
PART C: CONCLUSION
What might climate change mean for economic transformation?
- Export-oriented sectors are leading the way in driving higher environmental standards, but could benefit from further government commitment to a green agenda.
- Concerted focus on the water sector is needed, and in particular a shift towards widespread irrigation schemes to protect the agriculture from climate volatility.
- The transformation of Kenya’s agricultural sector will nonetheless need more than irrigation.