How is climate change affecting the Gambia?

We are already seeing the impacts of climate change, and one area significantly affected is the agricultural sector. If you look at the country’s rainfall pattern over the past 10 years, the volume of rain has decreased dramatically, with at times very minimal rain during this period compared to the 1970s and 1980s. Some estimates point to a 30% decrease in rainfall in the last 30 years.

 

Agriculture has minimal growth

Agriculture plays an important role in the Gambian economy, contributing about 25% towards its GDP. With around 70% of the workforce employed or engaged in the agricultural sector, any time the country encounters a drastic drop in rainfall the economy contracts or registers minimal growth.

 

Kunta Kinteh Island (former Fort James) is slowly disappearing

Floods and coastal erosion

Finally another impact of climate change is severe coastal erosion, linked to sea-level rise. The beaches in the capital of Banjul are vanishing, and in some areas, hotels and other tourism facilities no longer have the coastline they had a few years ago. This impacts tourism, which, in turn, affects our economy. Flooding is also a problem with rain water inundating the city, nearby towns and villages, causing damage to infrastructure and disrupting livelihoods.

 

New coastal protection in the Gambia Photo: Nira

 

Source: Green Climate Fund

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