Global economic hotbeds with fast growing populations in Africa face the highest climate risk. Cities like Kampala in Uganda, Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, and Lagos in Nigeria face the challenges of a population boom plagued by drought or crop failure.

The scoop

Climate risk is hitting the heart of Africa.

In 2018, global research firm Verisk Maplecroft combined UN population data with their Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI).

In the study, researchers found that 84 of the 100 fastest growing cities in the world face ‘extreme risk’ from climate change. The remaining 14 faced fell under the ‘high risk’ categories. Most of those cities were in Africa.

By the numbers

Global inequality is linked to climate risk.

  1. 95% of the 234 cities most affected by climate change fall in Africa & Asia.
  2. 86% of the 292 ‘low risk’ cities are located in Europe and the Americas.

Reading between the lines

Climate risk is investment risk.


  • The world’s poorest with higher rates of urbanization face the greatest threats from climate disruption.
  • Yet, the world’s most advanced economies (US, China, India, Europe) account for half of the world’s carbon emissions.
  • The International Monetary Fund estimates that 8 out of the 10 fastest growing economies between 2018 and 2023 will be African countries, posing serious risk to companies operating in the region.

Bottom line

Big markets need to bet on climate resilience.

There is a clear correlation between climate change vulnerability and population growth. But even remote islands like the Pacific islanders cope with rising sea levels.

Extreme climate risk in Africa, the fastest growing economic region of the world, makes an even stronger case for larger markets to invest in climate resilience. Many of us read Larry Fink’s Letter to CEOs, where he warned the world about climate risk in portfolio investments. It’s time we apply it to growth strategies around the world.

Advanced economies (as the cause but not the victim) have a moral, social and economic responsibility to mitigate the impact of carbon emissions.

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84% of world’s fastest growing cities face ‘extreme’ climate change risks.

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