The Impact of Climate Change on Sub-Sahara Africa

Case Studies in Cameroon, Nigeria and Uganda

by Chukwuemeka Christopher Opara (Volume editor) Bernard Palmer Kfuban Yerima (Volume editor)
©2015 Monographs 201 Pages
Series: Studies in Sub-Saharan Africa, Volume 6


While global warming and its consequences on humanity are being fiercely debated at the global scale, deliberate and pragmatic reflections on the subject in Sub-Sahara Africa remain muted, though this phenomenon is negatively impacting the livelihoods of her people. The unprecedented degradation of her natural resources, i.e., water, biodiversity, and soils are seen to be intricately linked to her increasing inability to meet the basic needs of her people. This book examines how global climate change impacts on Sub-Sahara Africa, the measures and strategies that would be used in facing it and actions presently implemented in combating it. A pragmatic community/state engagement synergy on climate change mitigation initiatives that rewards best practices is critical to its success. Though investments in research, technical know-how, dedicated commitment and dissemination mechanisms would be inevitable to draw the continent from the precipice, the role of regulatory enforcement mechanisms and a legal framework addressing land use rights permissible within given landscapes is seen to be central to the success of this endeavor.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Foreword to the Series
  • Table of Contents
  • Foreword to this Volume
  • I. Global climate change impacts on Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Climate change phenomenon: Causes, consequences, mitigation and some adaptation strategies in Nigeria
  • Awareness of the causes and environmental implications of climate change phenomena in select-countries of Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Rainfall variabilities in Sub-Sahara Africa: Oberservations and implications in Ilorin, Southwest Nigeria
  • Global climate change impacts on Sub-Sahara Africa: The case of Nigeria’s shorelines
  • II. Measures and strategies for facing climate change in Sub-Sahara Africa
  • Information and communication technologies for creating awareness of climate change phenomenon in Nigeria
  • Strategies adopted in preserving plant and animal species endangered by climate change in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Global climate change in Sub-Saharan Africa: The situation in Karamoja sub-region, Uganda
  • Adaptation measures taken to preserve animal species affected by climate change in Karamoja sub-region, Uganda
  • Physical and economic consequences of climate change in select-countries of Sub-Sahara Africa
  • Sustaining endangered species in a period of climatic anomaly in Sub-Saharan Africa: Examples from Nigeria
  • III. Actions implemented in facing climate change
  • Protection of animal species endangered by climate change in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Climate change and montane biodiversity management in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Study of the Cameroon highlands ecoregion
  • Protective measures taken for preserving species endangered by climate change in Sub-Saharan Africa: Case of Yongka Western Highlands Research Garden-Park, Nkwen-Bamenda, Nw Region, Cameroon

Uche C. Amalu

University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria

Foreword to this Volume

Climate change, one of the most recent phrases in global environment vocabulary, is also one of the greatest transcendental challenges of this century.

Often used interchangeably with global warming, climate change is the slow change in the composition of the global atmosphere, which is caused directly and indirectly by various human activities in addition to natural climate variability over time. Just as global warming aptly describes the process of warming up of the globe, climate change also describes changes in the atmosphere over a period of time. However, the definitions and descriptions of climate change have become an evolving concept, describing changes in the sum total, long-term averages of the globe. In a strange way, and in very diverse ways, climate change affects everybody in the world, but in the most fundamental way, climate change will bring change to agriculture wherever it is practiced around the globe.

During the 1980’s, scientists, governments and the public became more concerned about the possibilities that the world may be getting warmer. Ever since then various studies and assessments have been carried out by researchers worldwide. There can no longer be any doubt – the earth’s climate is changing, and some nations will likely experience more adverse effects of climate change than other nations. Some nations may benefit more than others and poorer nations are generally more vulnerable to the consequences of global warming. Indeed the poorer nations tend to be more dependent on climate-sensitive sectors, such as agriculture, forestry and natural resources, and they lack the economic resources to buffer themselves against the changes that global warming may bring. Considering the foregoing factors and because of widespread poverty, food and nutrition insecurity, both of which limit adaptation capabilities, Africa, but particularly the Sub-Saharan sub-region, is the continent most vulnerable to the impacts of projected changes in climate. While the specific consequences resulting from global warming will continue to be debated, areas of concern include rising sea levels, disruption of the hydrologic cycle, worsening human-health effects, changing forests and natural areas and challenges to agriculture and food supply, factors which are not only relevant to Africa as a whole, but also very determinate to the continued survival of the sub-regions teeming populations. ← 9 | 10 →

The volume entitled The Impact of Climate Change on Sub-Sahara Africa: Case Studies in Cameroon, Nigeria and Uganda, as the other books in our series before, should present the scenarios in countries of Sub-Saharan Africa and from African scientists themselves, but this volume emphasizes results of various studies and assessments made by scientists from Cameroon, Nigeria and Uganda. The scenarios in the aforesaid countries aptly demonstrate impacts and manifest experiences across the Sub-Saharan sub-region in Africa. Furthermore, majority of the thirteen articles come from Nigerian authors, who also derived their examples and references from Nigerian perspectives, while the others come from authors in Cameroon and Uganda.

The volume is divided in three sections: section one, “Global climate change impacts on Sub-Saharan Africa” present articles on causes, observations, mitigation and adaptation strategies, as well as issues in the Nigerian shorelines. The second section discusses several measures and strategies for facing climate change in the sub-region. The emerging contributions of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and some measures for the protection and sustainability of plant and animal species and other forms of biodiversity were given special attention. Beyond recommendations, actions of individuals, organizations and governments (especially in the Yongka Nkwen-Bamenda, Northwest region, Cameroon) in combating climate change are discussed in section three. The articles are written in an easy-to read and understand styles and hereby recommended for reading by the discerning public, teachers and researchers in colleges and universities, as well as by decision-takers and policymakers in government. ← 10 | 11 →

I. Global climate change impacts on Sub-Saharan Africa

← 11 | 12 →

← 12 | 13 →

Chukwuemeka Christopher Opara

Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria

Climate change phenomenon: Causes, consequences, mitigation and some adaptation strategies in Nigeria


The term climate change has been given different definitions by various researchers. For instance, Cook (2005) defined climate change as a change in the statistical distribution of weather over periods of time that range from decades to millions of years. Thus, it could be any long-term significant change in the average weather or in the distribution of weather events around an average (for example, greater or fewer extreme weather events) in a given region. In the context of environmental policy, climate change refers to changes in modern climate giving rise to global warming (IPCC, 2007). The International Council for Science (ICSU, 2007) indicated that climate change is one of the “global environmental changes (GEC)” and global environmental change refers to the set of transformation of land, oceans and atmosphere driven by inter-woven, socio-economic and natural processes. The Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) in its Article 1 and cited in Green (2008) referred to climate change as a change of climate, which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and, which is in addition to natural variability observed over comparable time periods. Climate changes reflect variations within the earth’s atmosphere processes in other parts of the earth, such as oceans and ice caps, and the effect of human activities. Most forms of internal variability in the climate system could be recognized as a form of hysteresis, indicating that the current state of climate reflects not only the inputs but also the history of how it got to a given point or place. For instance, a decade of dry conditions may cause lakes to shrink. Indeed, climate change could be a self-perpetuating process, because different aspects of the environment respond in different ways to the fluctuations that inevitably occur.

The problems associated with climate changes have, however, been reported to include atmospheric temperature increases or decreases, which could give rise to changes in rainfall distribution and growing season length and greater frequency ← 13 | 14 → and severity of storms (Brady and Weil, 2005; Cunningham et al., 2005); sea level increase or decrease (Brady and Weil, 2005; Boesch et al., 2000; Cunningham et al., 2005; Green, 2008; Woodroffe and Horton, 2005) aggravating weather extremes such as flooding, drought and desertification which in turn result in soil quality breakdown, poverty food insecurity, social tensions and migration of people and breakdown in human health, water resources and natural resources – based livelihoods (ICSU, 2007) especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. The issues and problems associated with natural (forest products and land) and human (indigenous knowledge, agricultural skills/training and water management) resources and their current or potential relationship with climate have continued to receive a high level of national and international attention. Thus, it should come as no surprise that climate variability and the potential consequences of future climate change should be of considerable interests to stakeholders, policy makers and the general public, especially as they may act as an additional stressor to land and forest resources. However, regardless of the actions taken to mitigate or otherwise address the causes and consequences of climate change in the Sub-Saharan Africa, one of the most important responses to climate change would be to deliver timely information and current useful or relevant scientific findings to decision makers and the public. According to Boesch et al. (2000), to deliver such timely information and relevant scientific findings, the best available scientific information on the patterns, projections and consequences of both climate variability and change should be widely used, together with an understanding of associated uncertainties and should lead to informed policy making that protects the environment and ensures a sustainable future for the nation.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2014 (November)
Ressourcen Management Artenvielfalt fossile Brennstoffe
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 201 pp., 29 b/w fig., 17 tables

Biographical notes

Chukwuemeka Christopher Opara (Volume editor) Bernard Palmer Kfuban Yerima (Volume editor)

Chukwuemeka Christopher Opara was Lecturer in the Department of Soil Science and Technology in the School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (Nigeria) until his early death in 2010. Bernard Palmer Kfuban Yerima is Professor of Soil Science in the Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agronomy and Agricultural Science at the University of Dschang (Cameroon).


Title: The Impact of Climate Change on Sub-Sahara Africa