Africa: The potential link between natural resources exploitation, climate change and natural disasters

Author: Diana Nabiruma, The Observer (Uganda), Published on: 20 February 2020

"Locusts, climate change and oil exploitation", 19 Feburary 2020

On Sunday, February 9, 2020, media reports indicated that Uganda had been invaded by locusts. That same day, the 33rd African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Assembly commenced in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The two-day meeting was held under the theme: Silencing the guns: Creating conducive conditions for Africa’s development...However, they did not discuss how African heads of state in alliance with national and international agricultural, oil and other companies are contributing towards climate change and are exposing Africans to more potential locust invasions. 

With the permission of African leaders, activities such as destruction of forests such as Bugoma in Uganda for sugarcane growing and exploitation of fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) including in ecosensitive areas such as national parks, lakes, rivers and forests in Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria, among others, are ongoing in Africa today. Both the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation are drivers of global warming and consequently, climate change. Yet climate change is part of the reason that Uganda, Kenya and other Eastern African countries are in the predicament they are in today. Moreover, this is a predicament that African countries are ill-equipped to deal with...

However, the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas is the biggest contributor to climate change. As earlier noted, climate change has been cited as the cause of the biggest locust invasion to be seen in Kenya in 70 years and in 25 years for Somalia and Ethiopia. To continue to exploit oil to exacerbate climate change is to put the lives of African citizens at risk. Moreover, poorer African states are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. African states have too few resources to manage climate change impacts.

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