from Africa in Transition

Sea Levels along the West African Coast

October 25, 2016

Blog Post
Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

More on:

Sub-Saharan Africa

Climate Change

Nigeria

Development

Aging, Youth Bulges, and Population

According to the World Bank, almost one third of West Africa’s population, responsible for creating 56 percent of GDP, lives along the coast of the Gulf of Guinea. Because of global warming, sea levels around the world are likely to rise by more than thirty inches (2.5 feet) by the end of the century. Africa, the Gulf of Guinea in particular, is expected to be especially hard hit: the number of people who could be flooded in Africa is estimated to rise from 1 million a year in 1990 to 70 million a year by 2080.

Lagos is now one of the largest cities in the world, and it’s population is growing explosively. The population of Lagos has grown from 5.3 million in 1991, to 16 million in 2006, and reached 21.3 million in 2015 (these figures are estimates, only). The shortcomings of the city’s infrastructure are notorious: crumbling roads, inadequate public transportation, insufficient water supply, and poor sanitation. However the successive administrations of Governors Tinubu and Fashola have been perhaps the best in the country.

Much of the Lagos metropolitan area is only slightly above sea level and several entire neighborhoods consist of shacks built on stilts in the lagoon. This will leave more than 3.2 million inhabitants and $117.3 billion in assests exposed to the dangers of climate change. Hence, as water levels rise, it must be anticipated that a large percentage of the population of the city will be driven to move to the mainland where the elevations are higher.

More on:

Sub-Saharan Africa

Climate Change

Nigeria

Development

Aging, Youth Bulges, and Population

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