Caroliene Tanui, NECJOGHA
Nairobi, Kenya- Kenya has been listed among the Sub Saharan countries whose economies risk collapsing due to the threat posed by the heightened climate crisis.
A report by the United Nation Conference on Trade (UNCTAD) revealed that Kenya is among 40 other countries which received a vulnerability score slightly higher than 0.5. Somalia was ranked as highly vulnerable with a score of 0.7.
“The climate crisis poses an existential threat to commodity-dependent developing countries and will result in the collapse of some economies if decisive action is not taken now,” UNCTAD secretary-general Mukhisa Kituyi said.
Despite their small contribution to climate change, the UN says that commodity-dependent developing countries (CDDCs) are more susceptible to challenges related to adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change.
The Commodity and Development Report 2019 report attributed this to their socioeconomic conditions, including their over-reliance on a single or a few commodities from sectors that are highly exposed to extreme weather events.
The geographical characteristics and low adaptive capacity of most of the CDDCs also puts them at climate risks, especially the Small island developing states (SIDS) which are among the worst affected.
In order to avert the crisis, the UNCTAD Secretary-General noted that countries ought to assess their diversification potential and reduce their commodity dependence.
This could be achieved through economic and export diversification and financial and technical support to implement their stated climate action plans.
This strategy could be achieved by venturing into new goods and sectors to reduce dependence on a narrow range of commodities or moving the value chain of a commodity up to increase its worth.
“Successful diversification strategy will likely include a combination of horizontal policies, such as strengthening human capital through investments in education and health, and targeted measures to promote individual sectors,’’ the report noted.