A new report estimates that by 2050 climate risks could cause damage worth $3.9 billion in Ghana’s transport sector. But the report also offers a roadmap that could prevent the worst from happening. It also highlights extensive efforts by the government to counter climate risks.

The potential damage of $3.9 billion is thrice the investment of $1.3 billion made in the sector in 2019, according to the study. The research was led by the national Ministry of Science, Environment, Technology and Innovation, in partnership with the Global Center on Adaptation. It reflects efforts by the government of Ghana to assess the threat that climate change poses to infrastructure assets. It also mentions government efforts to prioritize adaptation investments to mitigate the climate risks facing Ghana’s infrastructure in the energy, transport, and water sectors.

“Extreme weather and rapid changes to Ghana’s climate present a profound risk to key sectors of Ghana’s socio-economic development. Infrastructure in these sectors are the bedrock of the country’s economic growth and development,” said Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, Ghanaian Minister of Science, Environment, Technology and Innovation, at the launch of the report.

“Ghana: Roadmap for Resilient Infrastructure in a Changing Climate”(link is external) was carried out under the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program, a partnership of the African Development Bank Group and the Global Center on Adaptation, with support from the United Nations Office for Project Services, the United Nations Environment Program, and the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute.

The report estimates that increased drought threatens the future energy availability of about a quarter of a million people in rural Ghana, owing to a reliance on wood fuel for household use. Equally, climate risks threaten major components of electricity generation and transmission due to droughts and flooding.

To avert a climate crisis, the national assessment proposes 35 adaptation options for funders and investors to invest in Ghana’s future, offering impactful, evidence-based adaptation projects and enabling environment interventions.

“Given how we know the climate crisis is evolving, these are very alarming statistics. But this is not the full story. For us, at the Global Center on Adaptation, the real story on climate adaptation in Africa is a story of resilience, of responsibility, of solidarity, of opportunities for a safer, greener, more prosperous continent. It is this story that is captured in the roadmap we are launching today,” said Professor Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation.

The assessment provides a roadmap for addressing risks through targeted adaptation options in the built and natural environments, including nature-based solutions. It also defines institutional interventions required to ensure the optimum effectiveness of adaptation measures in the country.

“This report will further enrich our dialogue and enhance the overall impact of investments in resilient, green infrastructure that are central to tackling the damaging effects of climate change,” said Eyerusalem Fasika, the African Development Bank’s Country Manager in Ghana. She said the report would inform the Bank’s next country strategy for Ghana.

Ghana has experienced severe droughts and flooding in the last two decades, some of which have had severe economic and social impacts. The projected impacts of climate change are likely to intensify pressure on the country’s existing dam infrastructure, yielding severe consequences for river runoff, which could affect over 1.3 million people, mostly women and children, the report indicates.

“Climate impacts are projected to lead to increased investment for infrastructure, particularly water storage, flood defenses, and water supply and sanitation, but, in the long run, investment in adaptation will reduce the need for costly retrofitting while reducing upfront costs,” said Anthony Nyong, Senior Regional Director for Africa at the Global Center on Adaptation.