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The cost of air pollution in Africa

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  • Rana Roy

Abstract

This paper is a first attempt at calculating the cost of air pollution in Africa. More precisely, it is a calculation of the major part of this cost: namely, the cost of premature deaths attributable to air pollution. It draws on the epidemiological evidence base assembled in the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013, in order to detail results for the health impacts of air pollution – in absolute terms and relative to selected other major risk factors, per country and for Africa as a whole. And it draws on the economic analyses developed by the present author, among others, in recent OECD work on the value of statistical life, in order to establish results for the economic cost of the health impacts of air pollution. In the period from 1990 to the present, and at each succeeding five-year interval in between, the death toll from air pollution in Africa has risen in tandem with the uninterrupted growth in the size of the urban population of Africa over this period. The total of annual deaths from ambient particulate matter pollution across the African continent increased by 36% from 1990 to 2013, from a then relatively low base of ≈ 180 000 in 1990 to ≈ 250 000 in 2013. Over this period, deaths from household air pollution also continued to increase, by 18%, from an already high base of ≈ 400 000 in 1990 to well over 450 000 in 2013. For Africa as a whole, as at 2013, the estimated economic cost of premature deaths from ambient particulate matter pollution was ≈ USD 215 billion. The estimated economic cost of premature deaths from household air pollution was ≈ USD 232 billion. Ce document est une première tentative d’estimer le coût de la pollution atmosphérique en Afrique. Plus précisément : une tentative de calculer la partie la plus importante de ce « coût », à savoir le coût lié aux décès prématurés dus à la pollution de l'air. Il se fonde sur des éléments de données épidémiologiques recueillis par le « Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 », qui publie des résultats détaillés sur les effets de la pollution atmosphérique sur la santé – tant en termes absolus que par rapport aux autres principaux facteurs à risque –, par pays et pour l'Afrique dans son ensemble. Par ailleurs, il se fonde sur les analyses économiques développées par l'auteur, notamment les travaux récents de l'OCDE sur la « valeur d’une vie statistique », pour estimer le coût économique des effets de la pollution de l'air sur la santé. Dans la période allant de 1990 à nos jours, et à chaque intervalle quinquennal, le nombre de décès dus à la pollution atmosphérique en Afrique a augmenté au même rythme que l’accroissement de la population urbaine pendant cette même période. Le nombre de décès annuels dus à la pollution de l’air par les particules ambiantes sur le continent a augmenté de 36 % entre 1990 et 2013, à partir d’un niveau peu élevé ≈ 180 000 en 1990 à ≈ 250 000 en 2013. Au cours de cette période, les décès dus à la pollution de l’air domestique ont continué d'augmenter de 18 %, à partir d'un niveau déjà élevé de ≈ 400 000 en 1990 à plus de 450 000 en 2013. En 2013, sur le continent africain, le coût économique estimé des décès prématurés dus à la pollution de l’air par les particules ambiantes était d’environ 215 milliards de dollars. Le coût économique estimé des décès prématurés dus à la pollution de l'air domestique était d’environ 232 milliards de dollars.

Suggested Citation

  • Rana Roy, 2016. "The cost of air pollution in Africa," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 333, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:devaaa:333-en
    DOI: 10.1787/5jlqzq77x6f8-en
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    Cited by:

    1. Celia Mir Alvarez & Renaud Hourcade & Bertrand Lefebvre & Eva Pilot, 2020. "A Scoping Review on Air Quality Monitoring, Policy and Health in West African Cities," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 17(23), pages 1-26, December.
    2. Lucia de Strasser, 2017. "Calling for Nexus Thinking in Africa’s Energy Planning," ESP: Energy Scenarios and Policy 263161, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    3. Guoen Wei & Pingjun Sun & Shengnan Jiang & Yang Shen & Binglin Liu & Zhenke Zhang & Xiao Ouyang, 2021. "The Driving Influence of Multi-Dimensional Urbanization on PM 2.5 Concentrations in Africa: New Evidence from Multi-Source Remote Sensing Data, 2000–2018," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(17), pages 1-22, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Africa; Afrique; air pollution; pollution de l’air; valeur statistique d’une vie; value of statistical life;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation

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