Project Brief: Malawi (Oct 2013)

Malawi is particularly vulnerable to climate change and climate variability. Climate change projections show an increase in mean temperature of between 2 °C and 3 °C by 2050, a decrease in total annual rainfall and water availability and an increase in erratic rainfall events. The combination of increased temperature and reduced rainfall is likely to result in considerable loss of agricultural output and a reduction in the extent of land suitable for rain-fed agriculture. Erratic rainfall and increased temperature will result in more frequent and intense droughts, floods and severe weather – including strong winds and associated storm surges over Lake Malawi. A number of compounding factors including, inter alia, a challenging socio-economic context, widespread ecosystem degradation, inappropriate agricultural practices, and limited knowledge of climate change contribute to the vulnerability of Malawi’s economy and communities to climate change. There is limited data available to estimate the projected economic costs of climate change to Uganda, but studies from similar African countries suggest a decrease of 1.5–3% in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per annum under a business-as-usual scenario. The impacts of climate-related hazards in Malawi have already severely disrupted food production and have led to the displacement of communities, loss of life and assets, and an overall reduction of community resilience. In the absence of significant investments in adaptation, the negative effects of climate change will undermine years of development assistance and asset accumulation. Malawi’s climate information and Early Warning Systems (EWSs) are limited in their ability to monitor and forecast weather conditions, communicate warnings, respond to disasters, and plan for long-onset changes that require transformation in economic development.

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