Africa: Water Wars Will Increasingly Fuel African and Middle East Conflicts

Noble Horvath

Water shortages and transboundary water conflicts are fuelling conflicts across Africa and the Middle East. Add to that rapid urbanisation, and it’s a potentially explosive mix. The planet is heating up fast. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Middle East and Africa where the impacts on water security […]

Water shortages and transboundary water conflicts are fuelling conflicts across Africa and the Middle East. Add to that rapid urbanisation, and it’s a potentially explosive mix.

The planet is heating up fast. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Middle East and Africa where the impacts on water security and food security can exacerbate the conflict dynamics already extant in both regions.

Between 80 and 100 million of the MENA’s (Middle East and North Africa) citizens will suffer from water stress by 2025. According to researchers from Germany’s Max Planck Institute who had assembled data from 1986 to 2005 and compiled over two dozen models, even under the best-case scenarios, temperatures are set to rise by 4°C across the MENA region by 2050. In 2016, the MENA region recorded its highest temperature of 54°C at Mitribah in Kuwait and Basra in Iraq saw temperatures soar to 53.9°C.

As in the Middle East, temperature increases in Africa are expected to far exceed the global norms. Hotter nights and recurrent heatwaves are expected to be the norm for those residing within 15 degrees of the Equator. In West Africa, little precipitation combined with increased evaporation has resulted in lower crop…

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