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Natural ecosystem degradation could reduce SSA’s GDP by 9.7% per year (World Bank)

Monday, 05 July 2021 15:23
Natural ecosystem degradation could reduce SSA’s GDP by 9.7% per year (World Bank)

About $2 trillion could be saved for the global economy if natural ecosystems are better protected, the World Bank estimates. If the degradation continues, sub-Saharan Africa, which is already paying a heavy price, will further suffer.

The degradation of natural ecosystems could make SSA’s GDP drop by 9.7% a year by 2030, according to a World Bank report issued June 30. “A collapse in select services such as wild pollination, provision of food from marine fisheries and timber from native forests,” is the main threat to productivity in the sub-Saharan part of Africa, the document states. 

SSA depends on so-called pollinated crops and forest products and currently has a limited capacity to switch to other modes of production and consumption that could be less affected. This makes it the region most exposed to the consequences of this crisis, ahead of South Asia with an expected decline in GDP of 6.5%. The study entitled "The Economic Case for Nature" indicates that if nothing is done to stop the collapse of ecosystem services, the global GDP will lose $2.7 trillion each year by 2030.

To address this crisis and avoid huge economic losses while the global economy is still trying to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bretton Woods institution is calling for more funds to be invested in protecting these services. This, while strengthening global climate change adaptation initiatives. The report underlines Africa’s strong exposure to the heavy fallouts of the climate crisis the world has been facing for decades. Ironically, the region pollutes less but still pays a high price with flooding and drought periods that disrupt productivity and increase humanitarian challenges.

For David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group, as countries try to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important that economic development be more nature-friendly. According to him, Nature-friendly policies, including agricultural subsidy reform and investments in agricultural innovation, improve biodiversity and economic outcomes.

Moutiou Adjibi Nourou

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