Climate Change – The Cost of Loss and Damage over Africa

The Great Horn of Africa (GHA) remains one of the most vulnerable regions of the African continent, exposed to extreme impacts of climate change. This is mainly due to its reliance on rainfed agriculture which is highly sensitive to extreme weather and events. Unfortunately, these devastating extremes, especially floods and droughts, are troublesome to quantify and attribute to climate change. This is likely to worsen in the future following the projected increase in intensity and frequency of climate extremes, because of climate change.

The extremes are associated with loss and damages across Africa, despite the continent’s negligible contribution to climate change. Policy discussions on compensation to advance climate justice is cumbersome because of limited data and information on attribution and quantification of the observed and projected impacts of climate change. It is necessary to fill this gap in the effort to build resilience to climate change. Despite the introduction and implementation of climate finance in line with the Paris Agreement to support climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives, many nations, especially in Africa, continue to suffer from the unavoidable consequences of human-induced climate change. Other than inaccessibility, the funding of climate change initiatives remains insufficient, calling for assessments of climate change and associated impacts for informed decision-making on the level of funding to help developing countries build resilience to climate change.

The impact on the people both socially and economically is enormous, for instance, in Kenya alone, a study by the Stockholm Environment Institute found that the drought in 1998-2000 cost the economy $2.8 billion from the loss of crops and livestock, forest fires, damage to fisheries, reduction in hydropower generation, reduced industrial production as well as a significant reduction in the water supply. The study also found that the 2004 and 2005 droughts affected millions of people and the recent 2009 drought has led to major economic costs from the restrictions on water and energy supply[1]. The widespread flooding from extreme rainfall of March-April-May 2018 resulted in the displacement of about 311,164, 132 deaths, and a further 33 injured in Kenya. At least 47 deaths were reported after Solai Dam burst in Nakuru County (OCHA, 2018; Kenya Govt, 2018) In recent years, the country has recorded consecutive failures in its long rains, causing more losses that are not accounted for and compensated for. This is the picture across most countries/regions across the continent.

The Loss and damage debate has evolved to become the third pillar under the UNFCCC, apace with adaptation and mitigation. This evolution has, however, been impeded by the controversy surrounding the finance of loss and damages. At COP19, the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) was established and given three functions: (i) enhancing understanding of approaches to address loss and damage, (ii) strengthening dialogue coherence, coordination, and synergies between relevant stakeholders, and (iii) enhancing action and support to address loss and damage in vulnerable developing countries, least developing countries, and Small Island States. Despite numerous calls from these countries, the WIM has focused much of its work on enhancing understanding and strengthening coordination, with very little effort towards enhancing action and support to address loss and damage in these regions. At COP 25, the Santiago Network on averting, minimizing, and addressing loss and damage (SNLD) was established to review WIM. At COP 26, a process was set out for developing the institutional arrangements, modalities, and structure of SNLD in 2022 to fully operationalize it by COP27 in Egypt.

The commissioning of this study is timely; it will support the dialogue on climate justice at the forthcoming COP27. Indeed, the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the IPCC on Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability finds that soft limits to some human adaptations have been reached and that this can only be overcome by addressing the financial, governance, institutional, and policy constraints.[2] The report also places East Africa as one of the hotspots of high human vulnerability to climate impacts.

This study therefore will serve two broad aims:

  1. Generate evidence of the impact and cost of extreme weather events resulting from climate change over Africa to support the call for the creation of a compensation mechanism
  2. Lay the foundation for Oxfam’s work on Loss and damage in Africa and suggest options for possible future regional and global work on loss and damage and climate finance.


The target audience for this report will be varied; the evidence generated will be utilized by Policymakers, The African Climate Negotiators, The African Union, Governments, Media, and the informed public across the region and globally. It will also appeal to researchers, allies, climate activists, social movements, academic and research institutions, regional bodies (e.g., SADC, ECOWAS, EAC, UNECA, COMESA, etc.), and CSOs advocating for inequality as a tool for them to use.


Acknowledging the complexity of defining climate change loss and damages, this research seeks to document quantifiable evidence of the impact and cost of extreme weather events resulting from climate change in Africa. The evidence generated will support the call for accountability and commitment to invest in loss and damage financing mechanisms from the leading emitters of GHG. The main aim of this research is to attribute and quantify the impacts of climate change in Africa to the extremes of weather and climate.

The specific objectives are to:

  1. Produce evidence to support the position of African negotiators and governments and CSOs in their tasks in the climate finance negotiations.
  2. Contribute to the debate on Loss and Damage by providing policy positions and perspectives with a focus on the impact of the climate extremes contributing to Loss and damage.
  3. Document lived experiences of the communities impacted by the extreme weather/climate events in the target countries assessing the limitations in the adaptive capacities of the communities during these occurrences.


  1. How has the climate changed in the recent past over the Great Horn of Africa (GHA)?
  2. What are the trends in mean and extreme temperature and rainfall over GHA?
  3. What are the turning points of temperature and rainfall change?
  4. Which years and areas were adversely affected?
  5. What is the contribution of anthropogenic GHG emissions to the observed climate change in (a)?
  6. What quantity of carbon is emitted and sequestrated over GHA
  7. How has the level of carbon in b(i) contributed to climate change?
  8. Which are the extreme weather/climate events (droughts) attributed to anthropogenic climate change?
  9. What are the observed impacts and the loss and damage caused by climate change?
  10. How has climate change affected different people (age, gender, elderly) in Kenya?
  11. What is the impact of climate change on water and agriculture in Kenya?
  12. What is the estimated cost of the loss and damage caused by climate change-related drought in Kenya?


The research will be conducted in two strands:

  1. Climatology, attribution: What is happening and can changes be attributed to climate change? Analysis covering the entire region GHA, or at least the sub-regions specified in the next question.
  2. The costs of climate change induced loss and damage in selected sub-regions of Africa:
    1. Kenya
    2. Niger

*This will be expanded in future to other countries- Uganda, Somalia, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Burkina Faso among others

The approach taken by this research will entail understanding the climatology, ascertaining the level of climate change, investigating the variability and change in rainfall extremes, and the associated socio-economic impacts. Analysis of climate variability and change will be based on a high-resolution ensemble gauge-based rainfall and temperature dataset, running from 1970 to date. Drought events attributed to anthropogenic climate change as well as to natural variability will also be identified, from attribution studies conducted in the past.

In Kenya for instance, primary socioeconomic data will be collected using well-structured questionnaires mainly targeting at least 600 households, and 200 stakeholders in the water and agriculture sectors. The major assumption is that the information generated from the data collected through this study will be a representative of the loss and damage from impacts of the weather/climate extremes caused by climate change in Kenya and other developing countries. The data will be ground validated against secondary data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the Treasury, and government agencies.

The same methodology will be adapted to collect data in Niger.

Fig. 1 Conceptual framework


  • Gender will be reflected in each section, with the direct relevance to the role each gender plays in climate change adaptation, their vulnerability, and how different they are impacted by extreme weather events.
  • During data collection, women, men, and young adults will be provided with an opportunity to give their input.


[What are the different ways in which data will be collected? List the proposed research methods, including qualitative, quantitative, participatory, and audio-visual methods as appropriate. Indicate whether and how these will be gendered. State also where research will be undertaken, or whether it is desk-based. For advice on different methods, see the Oxfam Research Guidelines.]

The research will adopt a mix of research methods in collecting data and reaching out to the various stakeholders

  • Participatory research approach will be the main method used in this research;
    • The study will position the communities that are adversely affected by climate extremes at the ‘core’ of this study – they will be interviewed, as well as hold focus group discussions.
    • The key government institutions will also be reached out to, and relevant documents and data be reviewed. The key to this research will be government data on the disasters that have occurred in these countries, the level of government investment in adaptation and response, infrastructure, etc. In cases where the actual monetary value of losses/damage is unavailable, we could give a qualitative assessment of impacts.
    • Similarly, due to the nature of this research and the need to have a thoughtful element of quantified conclusions both qualitative and quantitative data will be included within the case studies.
    • We will also reach out to companies – some of them will be MSME size and as such part of (household businesses), others will be medium to large sizes.
  • Inception Report; The commissioned consultant(s) will prepare an inception report for each strand that will be discussed with countries to shape the study.
  • Country engagement; we will engage with countries to plan the field data collection, review, and validation. The Oxfam country teams in target countries(Kenyan and Niger) and the regional platforms (HECA and WAF) will take a central role in the process.


  • Government of Kenya and relevant institutions:
    • National Drought Management Authority
    • Kenya Meteorological Department
    • Ministry of Agriculture Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives
    • Kenya Red Cross/ National Disaster Management Authority/Unit
  • Government of Niger and relevant State institutions
  • The African Union
  • Inter-governmental Authority on Development/IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Center
  • African Adaptation Initiative


A report on climate variability and change situation, attribution, and climate change loss and damage over the Great Horn of Africa.

A database of climate change loss and damage over Kenya.







Data collection & analysis

Research assistants, Database, Results

Report writing


Draft report

Stakeholder workshop


Final report



[Provide any relevant guidance on the documentation of research. See also Oxfam’s Style Guide for Notes, References, and Bibliographies.]


[State any specific or possible ethical issues that the research raises, as well as any risks that might arise during or as the result of the research. Suggest a process for mitigating any such issues/risks. Refer to guidance and procedures for working with vulnerable women and children where appropriate. For further advice see Oxfam’s research guideline on Undertaking Research with Ethics.]

In terms of sensitivities, the climate dataset that will be used to analyze the variability and change in temperature and rainfall is freely available online. For case studies, further guidance may be needed, and a libel check will not be needed.


Research Project Manager: This initial phase of the study will be led by Oxfam Pan African/AU liaison Office with funding from the African Activists for Climate justice Project.

  • The commissioning managers will be Nanzala Lazarus-PAP Climate Justice and Bertram Zagema- Novib, they will work closely with the consultants and internal colleagues to coordinate the various streams of work of this study and the next steps.
  • Country teams in Kenya, Niger and the regional platforms HECA and WAF will also be consulted and involved at various levels
  • We will coordinate with OI to align with the confederation priorities as the outcome of this study will also inform some of our COP27 advocacy priorities.
  • Researcher(s): The main research will be undertaken by a multidisciplinary research team drawn from meteorology, agriculture, economics, hydrology, and social science- the option is to recruit a lead consultant who will then put together the team.

Client(s)[List the internal client(s) for this research; if there is more than one, indicate the primary client.]

14. BUDGET (if applicable)

[Detailed breakdown of consultant fees, travel, field research expenses, etc., as applicable.]

3. Data entry



6.Stakeholder workshop



How to apply

If you believe your qualifications meet the requirements, please send your proposal to

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: