Climate Change and Economic Development in Africa
Mwiinga, Regina Conselho
African Economic Research Consortium
Gender equality and female empowerment (SDG 5) and embarking on actions to tackle climate change (SDG 13) are amongst the sustainable development goals established by the United Nations. South Africa has been experiencing extreme climatic events like droughts, floods, heat waves, etc because of climate change. These have impacted water and fuel sources, habitats, human health, and economic productivity. For instance, it is estimated that 19,113 households were affected by the recent floods in KwaZulu Natal Province. This resulted in 435 deaths and damage estimated at R17 billion1 . Females are particularly vulnerable due to their inherent social responsibilities (energy collection and use) and dependency on traditional sources of fuel (wood, charcoal, agricultural waste). As a result, they are exposed to danger of physical and sexual harm This is particularly visible, in rural areas. Consequently, they are time poor and face a high economic cost of their time usage which could have otherwise been spent on income generating activities2 . As climate events increase in frequency and intensity the plight of women is expected to worsen.