Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Sudan, and Niger, are among the world’s top 10 nations to be the worst affected by climate change

Posted: News,   : 2021-01-29 04:23:09 am
By: : Jean Claude NDAYISHIMIYE

Five African countries (Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Sudan, and Niger) are among the world’s top 10 nations to be the worst affected by climate change through disruptions to productivity in key economic sectors including agriculture, roads, dams, and other infrastructure according to the new Global Climate Index 2021 released by Germanwatch (Table 1).

Zimbabwe alone needed as much as $1.1 billion to support infrastructure rebuilding and support livelihoods after Cyclone Idai in 2019. This means infrastructure development elsewhere is crippled while humanitarian organizations have to re-direct longer term development funds to emergency response for food insecurity.

Mozambique has emerged as the most vulnerable to climate change in Africa, with the World Bank emphasizing that “limited fiscal space and social vulnerabilities in Mozambique are exacerbated by climate and disaster shocks impacting growth and development” on a regular basis. The average annual losses from floods induced by cyclones in Mozambique stands at $440 million, according to the World Bank. In the first month of 2021, Mozambique and Zimbabwe have suffered two extreme weather phenomena, Cyclone Chalane and Cyclone Eloise respectively. So dire has been the impact of the 2021 cyclone activity for Mozambique that the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund this week estimated over 176,000 people in central Mozambique will need humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of Eloise. The Global Climate index ranks Mozambique as the country most affected by climate change after it took a 12.6% gross domestic product knock on its economy in 2019 and suffered $4.9 billion losses in monetary terms from the impacts of climate change that resulted in the deaths of 700 Mozambicans. About 347 more deaths were recorded in neighboring Zimbabwe which is ranked in second place on the global index after suffering a 4.2% gross domestic product loss and as much as $1.8 billion in real monetary value in the wake of Cyclone Idai’s trail of destruction. Mozambique also features as the only African country (ranked fifth) in the top 10 of nations most affected by climate change in the 2000 to 2019 period.

Malawi, ranked in fifth place on the top 10 rankings of global countries most affected by climate change for 2019, lost $452 million owing to the effects of Cyclone Idai in 2019 while the heavy downpours and accompanying strong winds also wiped out 2.2% of its gross domestic product.

South Sudan and Niger are ranked in eighth and ninth place on the rankings. They each suffered 0.7% gross domestic product losses from severe flooding during the year under review, and this contributed to the two countries’ monetary losses of $85 million and $219 million respectively.

Table 1. The worst hit African countries by extreme weather events in 2019



Gross domestic product loss

Loss monetary millions




$4.9 billion




$1.8 billion




$452 million

South Sudan



$85 million




$219 million

This article originally appeared in Quartz Africa of January 28, 2021 @Quartz Media.


Eckstein D, Künzel V, Schäfer L. (2021). Global Climate Risk Index 2021: Who Suffers Most from Extreme Weather Events? Weather-Related Loss Events in 2019 and 2000‒2019. Germanwatch eV.