I visited Kenya in January as part of a parliamentary delegation to see how CAFOD and the Coalition for Global Prosperity are supporting communities on the frontline of climate breakdown. We travelled north into Marsabit County to visit Demo and Burgabo: two remote areas of the country which have been decimated by one of the worst droughts in living memory.
Extreme weather events in Africa killed at least 4,000 people and affected a further 19 million in 2022. Our visit took place after a year of widespread drought and famine across the east of the continent, serious flooding in Chad and Nigeria, severe storms in southern Africa, and raging wildfires in Tunisia. After four failed rainy seasons, water is scarce, crops aren’t growing, and livestock are dying. In some places it hasn’t rained for two years. In a country where livestock is people’s livelihoods, an estimated 1.5 million livestock died in Kenya alone during the failed 2022 March-May rainy season. We saw the devastating consequences of this first-hand and heard from people living in these communities.
With Kenya facing a debt crisis, the country is left confronting this dire situation with both hands tied behind its back. The work with organisations like CAFOD and Coalition for Global Prosperity do to mitigate the impact of climate breakdown in the region of East Africa is absolutely essential. Sadly, the Government’s decision to slash the aid budget puts many such projects at risk. I’ll keep pushing to reverse these cuts and push the Government to crack down on private lenders for their failure to provide debt relief. With 90% of foreign currency bond payments subject to British law, we have a real opportunity to lead on this.