Tanzania’s two major sources of income - tourism and trade - could be hit hard by climate change, according to a new report released by the World Bank today.
The report, Turn Down the Heat - Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts and the Case for Resilience - takes an in depth look at what climate change means for Sub Saharan Africa. It compares the impacts on the region if warming continues at its current rate with impacts if governments successfully limit average global temperature rise to 2° Celsius.
While not removing the risk altogether, if temperature rise is kept under 2 degrees Celsius, and comprehensive plans to adapt communities to climate change are put in place, many of the worst impacts can be avoided.
However, even at 2°C, the sea could rise 70cm in Tanzania by the later third of this century, wreaking havoc with the port infrastructure at Dar es Salaam. The port, which serves not only Tanzania but its landlocked neighbors such as Uganda, Congo DRC, handles 95 per cent of the country’s international trade and is responsible for more than 10 per cent of the city’s GDP.
Also threatened by sea level rise, together with an expected increase in flooding and extreme weather events like cyclones, are Tanzania and Kenya’s coastal tourism infrastructure such as hotels and resorts - another key source of income for the region.
According to the World Bank, most coastal areas have already reported an increase in yearly damage from tropical storms and floods. Additionally, Coral Reefs in Tanzania’s Indian Ocean are particularly vulnerable to bleaching - another drain on tourism income.
The jewel in Tanzania’s crown, Mt Kilimanjaro, is also expected to lose tourists as the mountain’s glacier continues to disappear as a result of the rapidly warming world.
Across Sub Saharan Africa, poverty reduction efforts and economic growth could potentially slump in the region as crop yields drop and water access problems are exacerbated, Sixbert Mwanga, of Climate Action Network Tanzania, said.
“This report highlights the threat the climate change poses to the hard won gains in development we have made in this region in recent years,” Mwanga said.
“Africa needs support from the international community to adopt a low carbon approach to development that is compatible with meeting the human rights and needs of its growing population.”
Climate change of 2°C will lead to worse health for many people across Sub Saharan Africa. An increase in undernourishment, childhood stunting, malaria and other diseases could impact the ability of children to receive an education.
Climate Action Network is calling on Tanzanian government to map a socio-economic transition plan to a low-carbon economy and community. “The government needs to secure a climate-resilient future for the people of Tanzania.”
Climate Action Network Tanzania (CAN-Tanzania) is a national network of over 65 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.
For more information, please contact: Sixbert Mwanga, Coordinator CAN Tanzania