The Climate Report 2017/18 - Page 19

Figure 1: Infrastructure Consortium for Africa’s assessment of infrastructure spending commitments in
Africa in 2015 by sector3
The limited existing infrastructure in Africa is
already being severely impacted by extreme events
associated with climate change. For example, as a
result of the unusual El Nino and La Nina events
attributable to climate change in recent years,
hydropower production from the Kariba Dam which supplies most of the electricity consumed in
Zimbabwe and Zambia - almost ceased in early
2016 when the volume of water in the reservoir
dropped to about 12% of capacity4. A 2015 study
by the World Bank and the Economic Commission
for Africa on Enhancing the Climate Resilience of
Africa’s Infrastructure (ECRAI)5 found that failure
to integrate climate change in the planning and
design of power and water infrastructure could
entail - in the driest climate scenarios - losses of
hydropower revenues of between 5 and 60 percent
(depending on the basin) and increases of up to 3
times the corresponding baseline values in
consumer expenditure on energy. In the wettest
climate scenarios, business-as-usual infrastructure
development could lead to foregone revenues in the
range of 15 to 130 percent of the baseline value.
Similarly, for irrigation the largest loss in revenue is
in the 10 to 20 percent range for most river basins.
In the transport sector, the ECRAI study found that
climate change is likely to lead to a shortening in
the life-cycle of roads rehabilitation, which may
entail steep increases in maintenance and periodic
rehabilitation costs. In the worst climate scenarios,
the stress imposed on roads by precipitation could
lead to rehabilitation costs that are 10 times higher
when compared to historical climate conditions,
while the stress imposed by flooding could lead to a
17-fold increase in rehabilitation costs.
Furthermore, with even limited infrastructure and
services to meet demand, many African countries
do not yet have inventories of their infrastructure in
various sectors and have not carried out a
systematic assessment of the risks from climate
change, resource inputs and environmental impacts
of these assets.
Yet many large scale dam infrastructure projects will be developed on the continent over the next few decades to unleash Africa’s largely untapped
hydropower potential.
Two studies have been produced: one on the power and water sectors and one on the roads and bridges sector. These are accessible online at: and


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