Invasive species costing Africa $3.66 tn a year: study

AFP

Invasive species introduced by human activity are costing African agriculture some $3.66 trillion every year — around 1.5 times the combined gross domestic product of all African countries — new research showed Thursday (May 20).

Non-native species of weed, insect or worm can have catastrophic effects on farming, with just a single bug capable of reducing yields of staple crops across the continent.

Now researchers based in Ghana, Kenya, Britain and Switzerland have sought to estimate the annual economic hit caused by invasive species to African agriculture. The team studied open source and peer-reviewed literature on species that were not native to the continent but had caused crop losses to assess the economic impact on yield, management and the cost of research.

Mohamed Adow, director of the Nairobi-based think tank Power Shift Africa, said the research showed “the huge battle that Africa faces to bring prosperity to its people”.

“This is yet further evidence for the need for greater support from richer nations to help Africans, be that through strengthening aid budgets, cancelling unpayable debts and delivering on climate finance to help people adapt to these challenges,” he told AFP.

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