From flooding to drought, countries across the African continent experience climate change in environmentally and economically diverse settings – but what do its citizens really think about it?
The Ghana-based Afrobarometer research organization checked in with five different countries for their 2018 reports, from West Africa to the south, and found there is still a lot of confusion about climate.
The polling group and its partners spoke with 1,200 Liberians and found that 46 percent of them had not heard of climate change, while 61 percent of those who had said it was making life worse. That’s especially critical in a nation where 70 percent of citizens rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. Among the more surprising findings was less familiarity with the topic among youth rather than older people, which reversed the more common pattern.
In cocoa-producing Côte d’Ivoire there is much concern among the 54 percent of respondents who were familiar with climate change. Three-fourths of them say it’s making life harder, while significant numbers of all Ivorian respondents (57 percent) said droughts had become more severe and 43 percent said agricultural production was more difficult. A majority believe it is human-caused, and that people can act to change it.
Two-thirds of people in Malawi said their farming was much worse because of climate change, while 60 percent of Botswanans familiar with climate change said life was worse because of it. As in other countries, it was more likely in rural areas and among the less educated for people to not know much about it.
Mauritanians facing higher temperatures and higher seas were among the most familiar with climate change, with 83 percent saying they knew about it. They associate it with changing weather patterns and attribute it to human activity, with the majority believing people can act to prevent its effects.
To see more data from Afrobarometer’s research, check this link.