Climate risk profile: Kenya - Fact Sheet

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Climate risks pose serious threats to Kenya’s sustainable development goals. With the largest economy in East Africa and a population of 48.5 million, Kenya serves as the regions’ financial, trade and communications hub. The country’s economy is largely dependent on rainfed agriculture and tourism, each susceptible to climate variability and change and extreme weather events. Increasing interseasonal variability and declining rainfall in the main rainy season have impacted cereal production in recent years. Recurrent droughts and floods—likely to be exacerbated by increasing temperatures, heavy rainfall events and sea level rise— lead to severe crop and livestock losses, famine and displacement. The 2008–2011 drought caused $12.1 billion in losses and damage. High population growth in urban areas is leading to expanding informal settlements, which are at risk from water scarcity, flooding and heat. While national poverty rates fell in recent years, poverty rates in arid and semi-arid regions of the north remain over 80 percent. Most of the country’s coast is low-lying, with coastal plains, islands, beaches, wetlands and estuaries at risk from sea level rise. A sea level rise of 30 cm is estimated to threaten 17 percent (4,600 hectares) of Mombasa with inundation. Models estimate that by 2030 climate variability and extremes will lead to losses equivalent to 2.6 percent of GDP annually. (5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 18, 23)