Researchers at UK-based Verisk Maplecroft found 84 of the world’s 100 fastest-growing cities are at “extreme risk” from the impacts of a warming planet, including 79 in Africa.
That group contains 15 of the continent’s capital cities and many of its commercial hubs, including Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria’s most populous city Lagos, Tanzanian business hub Dar es Salaam and Angola’s capital, Luanda.
The Verisk Maplecroft analysis combined its own annual index of vulnerability to climate change with U.N. projections on urban population growth to 2035.
Fast-rising populations act as “a risk multiplier in lower-income cities with poor public infrastructure and inadequate disaster response mechanisms”, with more people putting strain on limited resources, the study said.
Kinshasa, for instance, is now home to about 13 million people, but that figure is set to double by 2035.
The city is exposed to shocks from extreme weather, including flooding, as well as slower climate pressures such as drought in surrounding areas, which could drive poor farmers into the city while disrupting food and water supplies, the analysis noted.
It and other African cities at extreme risk are grappling with high poverty levels, expanding slums, weak governance and limited ability to adapt to climate shifts, researchers said.