Côte d’Ivoire: Human health

Climate change threatens the health and sanitation sector through more frequent incidences of floods, heatwaves, droughts and storms. Amongst the key health challenges in Côte d’Ivoire are morbidity and mortality through respiratory diseases, HIV / AIDS, tuberculosis, vector-borne diseases such as malaria, and impacts of extreme weather events (e.g. flooding) including injury and mortality as well as related waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea [35]. Many of these health challenges are expected to become more severe under climate change, which is also likely to impact food and water supply, thereby increasing the risk of malnutrition, hunger and death by famine. Although severe food insecurity has disappeared, it still remains a challenge in Côte d’Ivoire, in addition to malnutrition: In 2016, the national stunting rate of children under the age of 5 was 21.6 % and the food insecurity rate 10.8 %, with rural communities in western and northern Côte d’Ivoire being disproportionately stronger affected and more vulnerable [36]. Furthermore, climate change is likely to lengthen transmission periods and alter the geographic range of various diseases, for instance, due to rising temperatures and changes in precipitation amounts. In 2015, the estimated malaria incidence in the country was 349 cases per 1 000 people at risk [37]. Temperature increases could lead to more frequent outbreaks of meningitis, especially in northern Côte d’Ivoire, while increases in precipitation could heighten the risk of malaria [17].

Exposure to heatwaves

Rising temperatures will result in more frequent heatwaves in Côte d’Ivoire, which will increase heat-related mortality. Under RCP6.0, the population affected by at least one heatwave per year is projected to increase from 9 % in 2000 to 31 % in 2080 (Figure 18), and heat-related mortality will likely increase from 1.5 to 7 deaths per 100 000 people per year. This translates to an increase by a factor of about five towards the end of the century compared to year 2000 levels, provided that no adaptation to hotter conditions will take place (Figure 19). Under RCP2.6, heat-related mortality is projected to increase to about 3.5 deaths per 100 000 people per year in 2080.

Figure 18: Projections of population exposure to heatwaves at least once a year for Côte d’Ivoire for different GHG emissions scenarios.
Figure 19: Projections of heat-related mortality for Côte d’Ivoire for different GHG emissions scenarios assuming no adaptation to increased heat.


[17] World Bank, “Climate Change Knowledge Platform: Côte d’Ivoire.” Online available: https://climateknowledgeportal.worldbank.org/country/cote-divoire/vulnerability [Accessed: 27-Jan-2020].
[35] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “CDC in Côte d’lvoire,” Atlanta, Georgia, 2018.
[36] World Food Programme, “WFP Côte d’Ivoire Country Brief,” Rome, Italy, 2019.
[37] U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, “Côte d’Ivoire,” Washington, D.C., 2015.

Côte d’Ivoire: Ecosystems

Climate change is expected to have a significant influence on the ecology and distribution of tropical ecosystems, even though the magnitude, rate and direction of these changes are uncertain [33]. With rising temperatures and increased frequency and intensity of droughts, wetlands and riverine systems are increasingly at risk of being converted to other ecosystems with plant populations being succeeded and animals losing habitats. Increased temperatures and droughts can also impact succession in forest systems while concurrently increasing the risk of invasive species, all of which affect ecosystems. In addition to these climate drivers, low agricultural production and population growth might motivate further agricultural expansion resulting in increased deforestation, land degradation and forest fires, all of which will impact animal and plant biodiversity.

Species richness

Figure 16: Projections of the aggregate number of amphibian, bird and mammal species for Côte d’Ivoire for different GHG emissions scenarios.

Model projections of species richness (including amphibians, birds and mammals) and tree cover for Côte d’Ivoire are shown in Figure 16 and 17, respectively. Projections of the number of animal species show an increase by 2080 (Figure 16): Under RCP2.6, models agree that the number of animal species will increase by up to 20 % all across Côte d’Ivoire. Under RCP6.0, models agree on a similar trend, yet only for the northern part of the country.

Tree cover

Figure 17: Tree cover projections for Côte d’Ivoire for different GHG emissions scenarios.

With regard to tree cover, model results are far less certain. For RCP2.6, there is model agreement on a decrease in tree cover in small patches across all of Côte d’Ivoire. For RCP6.0, however, model agreement is low and no clear trend can be identified (Figure 17).

It is important to keep in mind that model projections exclude any impacts on biodiversity from human activities such as land use, which have been responsible for significant losses of global biodiversity in the past, and which are expected to remain its main driver in the future [34]. For example, rapid growth of agricultural production, uncontrolled fires and logging have resulted in one of the highest rates of deforestation worldwide: Côte d’Ivoire has lost 3.03 million hectares of forest cover in the period from 2001 to 2019, which is equivalent to a 20 % decrease [15].


[15] Global Forest Watch, “Côte d’Ivoire.” Online available: www.globalforestwatch.org [Accessed: 27-Jan-2020].
[33] T. M. Shanahan, K. A. Hughen, N. P. McKay, J. T. Overpeck, C. A. Scholz, W. D. Gosling, C. S. Miller, J. A. Peck, J. W. King, and C. W. Heil, “CO2 and Fire Influence Tropical Ecosystem Stability in Response to Climate Change,” Nat. Publ. Gr., no. July, pp. 1–8, 2016.
[34] IPBES, “Report of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services on the Work of Its Seventh Session,” n.p., 2019.

Côte d’Ivoire: Infrastructure

Climate change is expected to significantly affect Côte d’Ivoire’s infrastructure sector through extreme weather events. High precipitation amounts can lead to flooding of roads and railroads, especially in low-lying coastal areas, while high temperatures can cause roads, bridges and protective structures to develop cracks and degrade more quickly. Transport infrastructure is vulnerable to extreme weather events, yet essential for agricultural livelihoods. Roads serve communities to trade goods and access healthcare, education, credit and other services, especially in rural and remote areas. Côte d’Ivoire’s transport is dominated by road transport, handling almost all of its internal freight traffic [27]. Furthermore, it is closely linked with landlocked Burkina Faso through the Abidjan-Ouagadougou corridor, an important route for both road and rail transport [28]. The reliance on only few transport routes increases the sector’s vulnerability to climate impacts. Hence, investments will have to be made into building climate-resilient transportation networks.

Extreme weather events will also have devastating effects on human settlements and economic production sites, especially in urban areas with high population densities such as Abidjan or Bouaké. Informal settlements are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events: Makeshift homes are often built in unstable geographical locations including riverbanks and coastal areas, where flooding can lead to loss of housing, contamination of water, injury or death. Dwellers usually have low adaptive capacity to respond to such events due to high levels of poverty and lack of risk-reducing infrastructures. For example, heavy rains in October 2019 have caused flooding in Abidjan, Aboisso, Grand Bassam, Ayamé and Man. A total of 12 900 people were affected by this flooding including 12 fatalities [29]. Flooding and droughts will also affect hydropower generation: Côte d’Ivoire draws 40 % of its energy from hydropower and has been investing in large-scale hydropower projects including the Soubré Dam, which was inaugurated in 2017 and is the country’s largest dam with a capacity of 275 MW [30], [31]. However, variability in precipitation and climatic conditions could severely disrupt hydropower generation.

Despite the risk of infrastructure damage being likely to increase due to climate change, precise predictions of the specific location and extent of exposure are difficult to make. For example, projections of river flood events are subject to substantial modelling uncertainty, largely due to the uncertainty of future projections of precipitation amounts and their spatial distribution, affecting flood occurrence (see also Figure 5). In the case of Côte d’Ivoire, projections show a slight increase in the exposure of major roads to river floods under both RCPs: In 2000, 0.5 % of major roads were exposed to river floods at least once a year, while by 2080, this value is projected to increase to 0.6 % under RCP2.6 and to 1.3 % under RCP 6.0 (Figure 13). In a similar way, exposure of urban land area to river floods is projected to increase only slightly, from 0.04 % in 2000 to 0.2 % in 2080 under both RCPs (Figure 14). However, projections of exposure of major roads and urban land area to river floods are characterised by high modelling uncertainty, which is why no reliable estimations on future occurrence of river floods can be made.

Figure 13: Projections of major roads exposed to river floods at least once a year for Côte d’Ivoire for different GHG emissions scenarios.
Figure 14: Projections of urban land area exposed to river floods at least once a year for Côte d’Ivoire for different GHG emissions scenarios.

With the exposure of the GDP to heatwaves projected to increase from around 7 % in 2000 to 31 % (RCP2.6) and 27 % (RCP6.0) by 2080 (Figure 15), it is recommended that economic policy planners start identifying heat-sensitive production sites and activities, and integrating climate adaptation strategies such as improved solar-powered cooling systems, “cool roof” isolation materials or switching operation hours from day to night [32].

Figure 15: Exposure of GDP in Côte d’Ivoire to heatwaves for different GHG emissions scenarios.


[27] Oxford Business Group, “Côte d’Ivoire Revamps Infrastructure in Transport Sector to Support Economic Growth.” Online available: https://oxfordbusinessgroup.com/overview/adding-capacity-revampingsector-infrastructure-support-economic-growth [Accessed: 17-Feb-2020].
[28] V. Foster and N. Pushak, “Côte d’Ivoire’s Infrastructure: A Continental Perspective,” Washington, D.C., 2011. [29] International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, “Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) Côte d’Ivoire: Floods,” Geneva, Switzerland, 2019.
[30] USAID, “Power Africa: Côte d’Ivoire,” Washington, D.C., 2019.
[31] Reuters, “Ivory Coast to Bring 275 MW Hydropower Plant Online Next Month,” 2017. Online available: https://www.reuters.com/article/ivorycoast-electricity/ivory-coast-to-bring-275-mw-hydropower-plantonline-next-month-idUSL5N1GJ4Z8 [Accessed: 17-Feb-2020].
[32] M. Dabaieh, O. Wanas, M. A. Hegazy, and E. Johansson, “Reducing Cooling Demands in a Hot Dry Climate: A Simulation Study for Non-Insulated Passive Cool Roof Thermal Performance in Residential Buildings,” Energy Build., vol. 89, pp. 142–152, 2015.

Côte d’Ivoire: Agriculture

Smallholder farmers in Côte d’Ivoire are increasingly challenged by the uncertainty and variability of weather that climate change causes [25]. Since crops are predominantly rainfed, yields depend on water availability from precipitation and are prone to drought. However, the length and intensity of the rainy season is becoming increasingly unpredictable and the use of irrigation facilities remains limited due to low levels of mechanisation and lack of public investment [7]. The national crop land suitable for irrigation is estimated at 430 685 ha. Currently, only 8 % of this area is irrigated [7].

Crop land exposure to drought

Figure 11: Projections of crop land area exposed to drought at least once a year for Côte d’Ivoire for different GHG emissions scenarios.

The high uncertainty of water availability projections (Figure 10) translates into high uncertainty of drought projections (Figure 11). According to the median over all models employed for this analysis, the national crop land area exposed to at least one drought per year will barely change in response to global warming. Under RCP6.0, the likely range of drought exposure of the national crop land area per year widens from 0.2–7 % in 2000 to 0.1–23 % in 2080. The very likely range widens from 0–25 % in 2000 to 0–54 % in 2080. This means that most models project a significant increase in drought exposure over this time period.

Crop yield projections

Figure 12: Projections of crop yield changes for major staple crops in Côte d’Ivoire for different GHG emissions scenarios assuming constant land use and agricultural management, relative to the year 2000.

Climate change will have a negative impact on yields of maize, millet and sorghum (Figure 12)6. While maize is sensitive to hot temperatures above 35 °C, millet and sorghum usually tolerate hot temperatures and dry periods better [26]. Still, model results indicate a negative yield trend for all three crops under both RCPs with a stronger decrease under RCP6.0. Compared to 2000, yields are projected to decline by 9 % for maize and 10 % for millet and sorghum by 2080 under RCP6.0. Under RCP2.6, yields of maize, millet and sorghum are projected to decline by 5 %. Yields of rice and cassava are projected to gain from climate change. Under RCP6.0, crop yields are projected to increase by 5 % for rice and 22 % for cassava by 2080 relative to the year 2000. Under RCP2.6, yields of rice and cassava are projected to barely change. These positive results under RCP6.0 can be ascribed to the CO2 fertilisation effect, which benefits plant growth. Rice and cassava are so-called C3 plants, which follow a different metabolic pathway than maize (C4 plant) and benefit more from higher concentration pathways. However, projections of rice and cassava are characterised by higher modelling uncertainty. Hence, it is likely that crop yields will increase more strongly in some areas and, conversely, decrease more strongly in other areas as a result of climate change impacts.

Overall, adaptation strategies such as switching to improved varieties in climate change sensitive crops should be considered, yet carefully weighed against adverse outcomes, such as resulting decline of agro-biodiversity and loss of local crop types.

6 Modelling data is available for a selected number of crops only. Hence, the crops listed on page 2 may differ. Maize, millet and sorghum are modelled for all countries except for Madagascar.


[7] FAO, “Adapting Irrigation to Climate Change (AICCA): Côte d’Ivoire.” Online available: http://www.fao.org/in-action/aicca/country-activities/cote-divoire/background/en [Accessed: 27-Jan-2020].
[25] D. Noufé, G. Mahé, B. Kamagaté, Servat, A. Goula Bi Tié, and I. Savané, “Impact du changement climatique sur la production agricole: le cas du bassin de la Comoé en Côte d’Ivoire,” Hydrol. Sci. J., vol. 60, no. 11, pp. 1972–1983, 2015.

Côte d’Ivoire: Water resources

Water shortage in Côte d’Ivoire has been an issue for decades and is likely to continue in the future. Several studies show that climatic changes in the country have resulted in a decrease in total precipitation amounts, a shift of the onset of the rainy season and an increase in the frequency and duration of droughts [20]–[22]. The first six months of 2019 recorded an average precipitation decrease of 28 % in the country, hence the lowest value compared to the average precipitation sums from the period 2014–2018 [19]. Especially rural communities in the northern part of Côte d’Ivoire suffer from recurring water shortages limiting their abilities to improve agricultural activities [19]. The increase in the frequency and intensity of droughts has also led to the loss of the second crop cycle among rice farmers [23]. Today, due to decreased precipitation amounts, many farmers must get by with one crop cycle, in some areas not even achieving a full one. However, not only rural but also urban areas experience the consequences of droughts: In 2018, Côte d’Ivoire’s second-largest city Bouaké was left without running water for three weeks as a result of reduced precipitation and decreasing water levels in the Loka reservoir which supplies 70 % of the city’s water [24]. The government used tanker trucks to provide emergency supplies of water, while parts of the population had to migrate temporarily.

Per capita water availability

Figure 9: Projections of water availability from precipitation per capita and year with (A) national population held constant at year 2000 level and (B) changing population in line with SSP2 projections for different GHG emissions scenarios, relative to the year 2000.

Current projections of water availability in Côte d’Ivoire display high uncertainty under both GHG emissions scenarios. Assuming a constant population level, multi-model median projections suggest no change in per capita water availability over the country by the end of the century under either RCP (Figure 9A). Yet, when accounting for population growth according to SSP2 projections5, per capita water availability for Côte d’Ivoire is projected to decline by 55 % under both RCPs by 2080 relative to the year 2000 (Figure 9B). While this decline is primarily driven by population growth rather than climate change, it highlights the urgency to invest in water saving measures and technologies for future water consumption, in particular in the northern part of Côte d’Ivoire, given the already recurring water shortages in that region [19].

Spatial distribution of water availability

Figure 10: Water availability from precipitation (runoff) projections for Côte d’Ivoire for different GHG emissions scenarios.

Projections of future water availability from precipitation vary depending on the region and scenario (Figure 10). Under RCP2.6, water availability will decrease by up to 20 % in parts of southern Côte d’Ivoire, with most models agreeing on this trend. The picture is different for RCP6.0: Model agreement is low except for a small patch in the western part of the country which is projected to gain up to 10 % in water availability.

5 Shared Socio-economic Pathways (SSPs) outline a narrative of potential global futures, including estimates of broad characteristics such as country level population, GDP or rate of urbanisation. Five different SSPs outline future realities according to a combination of high and low future socio-economic challenges for mitigation and adaptation. SSP2 represents the “middle of the road”-pathway.


[19] World Food Programme, “WFP Côte d’Ivoire Country Brief August 2019,” Rome, Italy, 2019.
[20] B. T. A. Goula, B. Srohourou, A. B. Brida, K. A. N ’zué, and G. Goroza, “Determination and Variability of Growing Seasons in Côte d’Ivoire,” Int. J. Eng. Sci. Technol., vol. 2, no. 11, pp. 5993–6003, 2010.
[21] N. Coulibaly, T. J. H. Coulibaly, Z. Mpakama, and I. Savané, “The Impact of Climate Change on Water Resource Availability in a Trans-Boundary Basin in West Africa: The Case of Sassandra,” Hydrology, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 1–13, 2018.
[22] G. Mahe and J.-C. Olivry, “Variations des précipitations et des écoulements en Afrique de l’Ouest et centrale de 1951 à 1989,” Sécheresse (Montrouge), vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 109–117, 1995.
[23] FAO, “The Impact of Climate Change on Rice Production in Ivory Coast, a Challenge Faced by Smallholder Farmers,” 2017. Online available: http://www.fao.org/in-action/aicca/news/detailevents/en/c/878311 [Accessed: 18-Feb-2020].
[24] L. A. Sanogo and D. Esnault, “After Cape Town, Ivory Coast City Feels the Thirst,” Phys.org, 2018. Online available: https://phys.org/news/2018-04-cape-town-ivory-coast-city.html [Accessed: 18-Feb-2020].

Côte d’Ivoire: Climate


Figure 2: Air temperature projections for Côte d’Ivoire for different GHG emissions scenarios.4

In response to increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations, air temperature over Côte d’Ivoire is projected to rise by between 1.7 to 3.7 °C (very likely range) by 2080 relative to the year 1876, depending on the future GHG emissions scenario (Figure 2). Compared to pre-industrial levels, median climate model temperature increases over Côte d’Ivoire amount to approximately 1.8 °C in 2030, 2.0 °C in 2050 and 2.1 °C in 2080 under the low emissions scenario RCP2.6. Under the medium / high emissions scenario RCP6.0, median climate model temperature increases amount to 1.7 °C in 2030, 2.2 °C in 2050 and 3.1 °C in 2080.

Very hot days

Figure 3: Projections of the annual number of very hot days (daily maximum temperature above 35 °C) for Côte d’Ivoire for different GHG emissions scenarios.

In line with rising mean annual temperatures, the annual number of very hot days (days with daily maximum temperature above 35 °C) is projected to rise substantially and with high certainty, in particular over northern Côte d’Ivoire (Figure 3). Under the medium / high emissions scenario RCP6.0, the multi-model median, averaged over the whole country, projects 33 more very hot days per year in 2030 than in 2000, 54 more in 2050 and 94 more in 2080. In some parts, especially in northern Côte d’Ivoire, this amounts to about 250 days per year by 2080.

Sea level rise

Figure 4: Projections for sea level rise off the coast of Côte d’Ivoire for different GHG emissions scenarios, relative to the year 2000.

In response to globally increasing temperatures, the sea level off the coast of Côte d’Ivoire is projected to rise (Figure 4). Until 2050, similar sea levels are projected under both emissions scenarios. Under RCP6.0 and compared to year 2000 levels, the median climate model projects a sea level rise by 11 cm in 2030, 20 cm in 2050 and 39 cm in 2080. This threatens Côte d’Ivoire’s coastal communities and may cause saline intrusion in coastal waterways and groundwater reservoirs, rendering water unusable for domestic use and harming biodiversity.


Figure 5: Annual mean precipitation projections for Côte d’Ivoire for different GHG emissions scenarios, relative to the year 2000.

Future projections of precipitation are less certain than projections of temperature change due to high natural year-to-year variability (Figure 5). Out of the four climate models underlying this analysis, two models project an increase in mean annual precipitation over Côte d’Ivoire under RCP6.0, while two models show no clear trend under the same scenario. Median model projections for RCP2.6 show a slight increase in precipitation until 2080, while median model projections for RCP6.0 show a stronger precipitation increase of 65 mm by 2080 compared to year 2000. Higher concentration pathways suggest an overall wetter future climate for Côte d’Ivoire.

Heavy precipitation events

Figure 6: Projections of the number of days with heavy precipitation over Côte d’Ivoire for different GHG emissions scenarios.

In response to global warming, heavy precipitation events are expected to become more intense in many parts of the world due to the increased water vapour holding capacity of a warmer atmosphere. At the same time, the number of days with heavy precipitation events is expected to increase. This tendency is also found in climate projections for Côte d’Ivoire (Figure 6), with climate models projecting an increase in the number of days with heavy precipitation, from 7 days per year in 2000 to 8 (RCP2.6) and 10 days per year (RCP6.0) in 2080.

Soil moisture

Figure 7: Soil moisture projections for Côte d’Ivoire for different GHG emissions scenarios, relative to the year 2000.

Soil moisture is an important indicator for drought conditions. In addition to soil parameters and management, it depends on both precipitation and evapotranspiration and therefore also on temperature, as higher temperatures translate into higher potential evapotranspiration. Annual mean top 1-m soil moisture projections for Côte d’Ivoire show a decrease of 3.0 % under RCP2.6 and 1.7 % under RCP6.0 by 2080 compared to the year 2000 (Figure 7). However, looking at the different models underlying this analysis, there is large year-to-year variability and modelling uncertainty, which makes it difficult to identify a clear trend.

Potential evapotranspiration

Figure 8: Potential evapotranspiration projections for Côte d’Ivoire for different GHG emissions scenarios, relative to the year 2000.

Potential evapotranspiration is the amount of water that would be evaporated and transpired if sufficient water was available at and below land surface. Since warmer air can hold more water vapour, it is expected that global warming will increase potential evapotranspiration in most regions of the world. In line with this expectation, hydrological projections for Côte d’Ivoire indicate a stronger and more continuous rise of potential evapotranspiration under RCP6.0 than under RCP2.6 (Figure 8). Under RCP6.0, potential evapotranspiration is projected to increase by 2.8 % in 2030, 4.0 % in 2050 and 6.6 % in 2080 compared to year 2000 levels.

4 Changes are expressed relative to year 1876 temperature levels using the multi-model median temperature change from 1876 to 2000 as a proxy for the observed historical warming over that time period.