West Africa

West Africa

The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report: What’s in it for West Africa?

This factsheet highlights:

  1. How West Africa’s climate is already changing
  2. West Africa’s future climate 
  3. Climate change impacts we have already seen in West Africa
  4. Future climate risks in West Africa 
  5. West Africa’s potential to adapt
  6. Key investment areas for a climate-resilient West Africa

Look out for our upcoming publications on the remaining three sub-regions in the next few weeks. These factsheets will be available in French (West and Central Africa), Portuguese (southern Africa) and Arabic (North Africa) in the coming months.


Future climate risks in West Africa: Human life and health

Above 1.5°C, impacts are considered high risk including potentially lethal heat
exposure for more than 100 days per year in West Africa.

Lagos, Cotonou and Porto-Novo exposure to sea level rise

Exposure to climate hazards in Lagos (Nigeria), and Cotonou and Porto-Novo (Benin).

Percentage change in GDP per capita in West African countries due to observed climate change (1991–2010)

In one estimate, African countries’ GDP per capita was on average 13.6% lower
over the period 1991–2010 compared to if human-induced climate change had not occurred.

Map of West Africa

Graphic map of West Africa.

Changes in global surface temperature

The Earth’s average surface temperature is expected to reach or surpass 1.5°C of warming above preindustrial times (1850–1900) in the near term (up to 2040),
according to the IPCC’s most recent assessment.

Constraints for the African continent that make it more difficult to plan and implement adaptation

The ability of southern African communities and sectors to pursue effective adaptation options to the full is constrained by lack of finance.

Severe heat stress duration for cattle in Africa with increased global warming

KEY: (A) Number of days per year with severe heat stress in the historical climate (1985–2014). (B and C) Increase in the number of days per year with severe heat stress for global warming of 1.5°C and 3.75°C above pre-industrial levels (1850–2100). Heat stress is estimated using a high Temperature Humidity Index value (Livestock Weather Safety Index).

Compounding risks to multiple African countries

Climate change is already challenging the health and wellbeing of African communities, compounding the effects of underlying inequalities (high confidence).

Risk of biodiversity loss across Africa with increasing global warming

With every increment of global warming, the risk of biodiversity loss and species’ extinction increases across Africa.