Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 207–224 | Cite as

Sea-level rise impacts on Africa and the effects of mitigation and adaptation: an application of DIVA

  • Jochen HinkelEmail author
  • Sally Brown
  • Lars Exner
  • Robert J. Nicholls
  • Athanasios T. Vafeidis
  • Abiy S. Kebede
Original Article


This paper assesses sea-level rise impacts on Africa at continental and national scales including the benefits of mitigation and of applying adaptation measures, considering four scenarios of global mean sea-level rises from 64 to 126 cm in the period of 1995–2100. We find that in 2100, 16–27 million people are expected to be flooded per year, and annual damage costs range between US$ 5 and US$ 9 billion, if no adaptation takes place. Mitigation reduces impacts by 11–36%. Adaptation in the form of building dikes to protect against coastal flooding and nourishing beaches to protect against coastal erosion reduces the number of people flooded by two orders of magnitude and cuts damage costs in half by 2100. Following such a protection strategy would require substantial investment. First, Africa’s current adaptation deficit with respect to coastal flooding would need to be addressed. DIVA suggests that a capital investment of US$ 300 billion is required to build dikes adapted to the current surge regime and US$ 3 billion per year for maintenance. In addition, between US$ 2 and US$ 6 billion per year needs to be spent on protecting against future sea-level rise and socio-economic development by 2100. This suggests that protection is not effective from a monetary perspective but may still be desirable when also taking into account the avoided social impact. We conclude that this issue requires further investigation including sub-national scale studies that look at impacts and adaptation in conjunction with the development agenda and consider a wider range of adaptation options and strategies.


Adaptation Africa Climate change impacts Mitigation Sea-level rise 



The first version of the DIVA model was developed within the project DINAS-COAST, which was funded by the European Commission’s Directorate-General Research (contract number EVK2-2000-22024). We thank Richard Tol for his support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jochen Hinkel
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Sally Brown
    • 3
  • Lars Exner
    • 1
  • Robert J. Nicholls
    • 3
  • Athanasios T. Vafeidis
    • 4
  • Abiy S. Kebede
    • 3
  1. 1.Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)PotsdamGermany
  2. 2.European Climate Forum (ECF)PotsdamGermany
  3. 3.School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Tyndall Centre for Climate Change ResearchUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  4. 4.Institute of Geography, “Coastal Risks and Sea-Level Rise” Research Group, The Future Ocean Excellence ClusterChristian-Albrechts University KielKielGermany

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