A new study by the Strauss Center’s program on Climate Change and African Political Stability
, “Locating Climate Insecurity: Where Are the Most Vulnerable Places in Africa?
,” maps the regions of Africa most vulnerable to climate change based on four main indicators: (1) physical exposure to climate-related disasters; (2) household and community vulnerability; (3) governance and political violence; and (4) population density. Across all indicators, they found that the “areas with the greatest vulnerability are parts of Madagascar, coastal West Africa, coastal Nigeria, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.” The authors hope this paper will serve as a launching point for future research on the diverse regional causes of climate change vulnerability, ultimately guiding adaptation strategies across the continent.
“After the Rain: Rainfall Variability, Hydro-Meteorological Disasters, and Social Conflict in Africa,” by Cullen Hendrix and Idean Salehyan of the University of North Texas, examines how extreme weather events, rainfall, and water scarcity affect political stability in Africa. The authors found that rainfall has a “significant effect” on political conflict and that wetter years are also the more violent ones. However, they also found extreme variability between countries, with Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Mauritania, and Mozambique showing the strongest correlation between rainfall and conflict. This suggests that many local environmental and social factors were also affecting levels of violence. “Water scarcity can lead to resource competition, poor macroeconomic outcomes, reduced state capacity, and ultimately, social conflict,” the authors concluded.