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Côte d'Ivoire faces agricultural challenges as El Niño intensifies climate disasters

Friday, 23 February 2024 14:29
Côte d'Ivoire faces agricultural challenges as El Niño intensifies climate disasters

(Ecofin Agency) - Côte d'Ivoire is facing the repercussions of climate change, and now the El Niño phenomenon poses an additional threat, particularly to the agricultural sector, which contributed 16.7% to national GDP in 2022, as reported by the World Bank.

The country is currently experiencing exceptional heat waves, according to report by the Société de gestion des aéroports et de météorologie de Côte d'Ivoire (SODEXAM). In an information note published on February 20, SODEXAM explained that this worrying heat trend is mainly caused by El Niño, which is characterized by abnormally high water temperatures in the eastern part of the South Pacific Ocean.

The effects of El Niño are currently being felt through high temperatures, rainfall deficits of 13% in January 2024, and a +1.1°C rise in temperature compared with the average of 26.8°C for January and February, the note reads. This phenomenon complicates existing challenges related to climate change, particularly in the agriculture sector, which plays an important role in GDP, according to the World Bank's 2022 data. The cocoa-coffee board noted that the global cocoa harvest, of which Côte d'Ivoire is the world's leading producer and exporter, is set to fall by 20% to 1.8 million tons in 2023/2024. This drop is the result of poor weather conditions and diseases affecting plantations, leading to a rise in world cocoa prices. The impact of El Niño could exacerbate these problems, threatening not only cocoa but also other agricultural sectors, raising concerns about inflation on the local market and difficult working conditions in the various estates.

"It's been extremely hot for several months, and it's heavily felt at home, on the streets and on the way to work. I have to run my air conditioner at full blast when I get to the office; otherwise, it's simply not tolerable. I can't even imagine what it's like for those who have to work outside," says a worker in Abidjan, the economic capital.

To meet these challenges, the Ivorian government has secured $1.3 billion in assistance from the International Monetary Fund through the Resilience and Sustainability Facility (RSF). This funding is intended to support reforms aimed at combating and mitigating the effects of climate change, showing the government's determination to maintain its status as an upper-middle-income country.

Weather forecasts are being closely monitored, and temperatures are expected to remain high until peaking in March 2024, according to SODEXAM.




ECOFIN AGENCY offers a selection of articles translated from AGENCE ECOFIN. Founded in 2011, Agence Ecofin is a leader in Francophone Pan-African economic news, particularly in West and Central Africa. The agency publishes daily news on nine African economic sectors: Public Management, Finance, ICT, Agribusiness, Energy, Mining, Transport & Logistics, Communication, and Training.

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