This paper reviews literature for the causes and effects of drought as a result of climate change in Africa. This section discusses the reasons why drought has been recurring in the region for the past ten years. The report aims at analyzing past literature researched on the subject and identifying potential gap in the previous research. The gaps identified form areas for new research in order to improve and solve the problem. The literature review has used books, journals, online materials, thesis and dissertation to understand drought in Africa from past academic work done. The methodologies proposed for this research is also outlined.
Methodology and data collection
The following research will adopt explanatory research design to explain causes and effects of droughts in Africa as a result of climate change. Secondary data will be collected from books, research papers and journals. Donor reports and information from government websites and publications will also been used in this report. Data from humanitarian nongovernmental organizations will also be of help in explaining the problem of the research.
This section contains research materials that have been written about the topic under report. The literature review will assess what has been the cause of the persistent drought in Africa from previous studies. A literature about effects and how the international community has reacted is also reviewed in.
Climate change has been one of the main causes of drought not only in Africa but in many other parts of the world. The climate change has affected many parts of the African continent and these areas have experienced drought in many parts of the world (Hempel.et al.2013). The climate change has been caused by industrialization and consistent pollution of the environment (NASAC, 2015). The aridity index is an indicator that is used to identify arid regions in regions with structural precipitation deficit (UNEP,1997);Zomer et al.2008). The annual rainfall precipitation in the East Africa region has been reducing consistently over the last two decades (Beck and Bernauer 2009). Industrialization in the African region has been on the rise with many international companies opening up many factories in the region. The pollution from this factories has caused changes in weather and climatic pattern which has caused reduction in annual precipitation and hence causing drought in many parts of the Horn of Africa (Hempel.et al.2013)
Another reason why drought has occurred in the region for many years is the conflict that has gone on in the region over a long period of time. After the fall of the authoritarian regimes in the 1990s, there was a major conflict for water and pasture among the pastoralists communities most of who lived in the North Eastern region (Markakis, 2007). This was majorly due to the nomadic nature of the pastoralists in this region. These regions are majorly classified as marginal and there are few economic activities that take place in these regions. Ethnicity among the communities living in many parts of Africa especially in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya and Somalia were in constant conflict. These conflicts resulted to people abandoning economic activities and migrated from the region. The abandoning of these regions led to environmental depletion of the region due to deforestation. The cutting of trees in this region was done to support the charcoal business as well as lumbering. This is what eventually resulted to the regions becoming arid and semi arid.
The effects of drought and famine in Africa have been fatal. It has resulted to death and suffering among the people living in the ASAL areas. Between the period of the year1900 and 2013 there were more than 642 drought events reported across the world (Em Dat, 2014). These drought events or activities are estimated to have caused economic damage estimated to be. A review on drought and aridity across the world by Dai (2010) shows that drought has reoccurred in Africa severally over the last one century. In Africa, there was severe and prolonged drought that occurred between 1970 and 1980s in Western Africa. In Africa alone, drought is estimated to have caused over 280,000 deaths between the year 1980 and 2014. This is a large number of people and therefore more should be done to stop this menace. The number of people suffering from drought effects in Africa alone is over 3million people (East Africa-Drought: Escalating Hunger, 2009). This is according to information from the World Food Program (WFP). The East African region comprising of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia have suffered the biggest brunt of the drought and famine being experienced in Africa. According to information from the ministry of planning and special program in Kenya the number of people suffering from drought by February 2017 is estimated to be around 1.7 million people (KRC, 2017).
The re-occurring drought has also brought social and economic problems in areas and regions that it has affected most. One of the major problems that have been brought about by drought in Africa is that it has destructed learning activities in most of the learning institution in the affected areas. This is because, many children are not able to attend school while hungry and therefore they opt to go looking for food. The number of children that are estimated to have dropped out of school during the drought experienced in the year 2016 especially in most parts of Northern Africa is estimated to be 2.3 million.
The re-occurrence of drought in many parts of Africa has also ethnic and cross boarder conflicts between the people that have been affected by drought. These conflicts occur because many of the people living in the drought prone areas are nomadic pastoralists and hence, more often than not, they end up fighting for pastures and water for their animals. These conflicts usually result to death and loss of property.
According to Mortimore (2009), another problem that is caused by drought is that it leads to economic marginalization of the affected regions. Agricultural productivity in these areas is low and given the fact that most of the people in Africa depend on Agriculture as a source of livelihood and source of income, people tend to migrate to other more productive regions. This causes the government to concentrate its resources more on the more productive regions.
A lot of literature has been written about the causes of the recurrent drought in the African continent and the effects of the drought on the lives of people living in these regions. It is seen that climate change is the major cause of drought in many countries and regions in Africa. Political and social problems have also been a contributor to the recurrent drought trends in Africa. The consistent drought has brought about suffering and death among many other issues. A gap in this research topic is that very little has been done to find a long term problem to this problem
Mortimore, M. (2009). Adapting to drought. 1st ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Magrath, J., & Simms, A. (2008). Africa up in smoke 2 : the second report on Africa and global warming from the Working group on climate change and development. London, [New economics foundation (NEF) [etc.].
Gupta, K. R. (2007). Encyclopaedia of environment. New Delhi, India, Atlantic Publishers & Distributors.
Drought and Famine. (2011). Africa Research Bulletin: Economic, Financial and Technical Series, 48(10), pp.19298A-19298A.
Drought And Famine: Horn of Africa Toll. (2012). Africa Research Bulletin: Economic, Financial and Technical Series, 49(1), pp.19405A-19406C.
Drought and Hunger Across Africa. (2016). Africa Research Bulletin: Economic, Financial and Technical Series, 53(2), pp.21167A-21167B.
East Africa-Drought: Escalating Hunger. (2009). Africa Research Bulletin: Economic, Financial and Technical Series, 46(9), pp.18406B-18406C.