This article was originally published in Business Post Nigeria on 14 March 2022.
There are fears that Nigeria and other developing countries across the globe could lose as much as $500 billion per year to natural disaster damages triggered by climate change by 2050 if urgent steps are not taken to avert this.
In a Fair Tech Institute whitepaper released by Access Partnership, a leading global public policy firm for the technology sector, it was stated that currently, the agricultural sector of the economies of these nations has lost about $108 billion to natural disasters through damaged crops and livestock production.
As a result, the paper is advising governments and the private sector to quickly leverage satellite technology for more effective disaster management efforts in Africa and globally.
According to the whitepaper, this increased frequency of natural disasters is set to overwhelm National Emergency Telecommunications Plans (NETPs) and terrestrial service providers currently in place to minimise and mitigate the human and economic cost of adverse weather events.
“Putting in place satellite services and next-generation satellite-enabled connectivity can mean the difference between saving millions of lives and losing them,” says Ivan Suarez, senior policy manager at Access Partnership, adding that this move can also reduce government expenditure during and post-disaster.
Providing unique data, the document forecasts the economic impact and future burden countries will face if disaster communications planning is not taken seriously. “The impact of natural disasters will be concentrated among low- and middle-income countries, which are relatively less prepared to adapt,” adds Suarez.
To reduce the socioeconomic impact of climate-related disasters, governments are encouraged to increase investment in physical and social infrastructure and allow for the upscaling and acceleration of far-reaching, transformational adaptation strategies. This includes the effective use of satellite networks and next-generation satellite technology.
“As shown by this study, we need a concerted effort to fix the underlying inefficiencies of our current, existing communication systems. The paper highlights that the availability of communication networks is directly related to the ability to respond quickly to emergencies,” Suarez concludes.
The whitepaper emphasises the need for the development of emergency telecommunication plans (NETPs) given the crucial role telecoms can play in saving lives and protecting communities when disasters strike.
Considering their unpreparedness to bear the financial costs and the need to protect human lives, collaborative efforts between governments and the private sector are urgently needed to maintain adequate NETPs.
This whitepaper is coming after organisations like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, Vision of Humanity and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) all agree that weather-related disasters are likely to become more frequent and widespread in coming years, thanks to climate change.
Subscribe to our news alerts here.