We have not seen many climate-forced migrations yet. This may not be for long according to a new report looking at the issue. The report by Africa Climate Mobility Initiative launched at the Climate Change Conference in Egypt projects that around 113 million people in the continent will likely be forced to migrate by 2050. It paints different scenarios ranging from population growth, sea level rise along the coasts, floods, water scarcity and climate impacts on crop yields. Africans are experiencing some of the worst weather events in a decade this year despite contributing the least to global carbon emissions at less than 4 per cent. To talk about the larger Eastern Africa, we are already experiencing the worst drought in 40 years that is breaking records. Over 36 million people across the Horn of Africa including Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are going hungry. Livestock and wild animals in national parks have been dying in their hundreds. River Nile too is in danger. The threat facing the mighty river is perhaps more evocative given its mythical legend throughout history. Climate change coupled with exploitation has seen the river’s flow drop from 3,000 cubic metres per second to 2,830 cubic metres over the last 50 years. The drop is significant given that it supports more than half a billion people, but also because the UN group of climate experts predicts that its flow could fall by 70 per cent because of the projected multiple droughts in East Africa where it originates. The water supply available to every person will plummet to a third of what they have now along the length of its 6,500 kilometres from its source in the Lake Victoria basin. In the meantime, Lake Victoria could also dry up due to drought, evaporation and slow tilts in the Earth's axis which could affect orientation and flow from the expansive lake. The experts warn that floods and other violent storms likely to lash East Africa as the climate warms will only make up 15 to 25 per cent of the lost water. The inevitable outcome of this is that the impact on the Nile will be catastrophic and felt in the 14 countries in the river basin that include all seven East African Community countries. Even Rwanda, which is not as severely hit as many countries, the effects are being felt. A post shared on Twitter last week shows a drastic drop of water level from more than 4,500 cubic metres to less than 2,500 cubic metres in a man-made lake in Muhanga District. The projected rains this month could fill it back up. Worse-off countries in the continent are likely to see the migrations predicted by the Africa Climate Mobility initiative survey. Notably however the survey finds that the climate-forced displacements will mainly take place within countries. This is opposed to the cross-border migrations many might have thought given other migration patterns. The survey also finds that, for most on the continent, climate mobility is likely to be a response of last resort. Which means it will take a lot before many are forced to move. But with the possibility of 113 million migrating, it remains a serious issue with major policy implications, which the survey sought to inform during negotiations at the Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. The survey report, according to one of its authors, provides research, data and projections that support locally anchored solutions for climate adaptation in communities across Africa facing the impacts of forced migration. It uses likely and optimistic climate change and development scenarios to provide projections of climate mobility that are appropriate to Africa’s development trajectory over the next 30 years. In the end, however, it is about money. The African Development Bank (AfDB) projects that the continent will need as much as $1.6 trillion between 2020-2030 to implement its climate action commitments. That is far more than the long-overdue pledge of climate financing worth $100 billion a year to the developing world to combat the crisis. The promise made by rich countries during COP16 in 2010 in Cancún, Mexico, to avail the $100 million by 2020 has been a dismal failure. Yet, in Africa alone, the climate impact which the money might have helped has seen the continent lose up to 15 per cent of gross domestic product per capita growth each year because of climate change. Much therefore is expected this COP cycle at Sharm el-Sheikh, which is why African leaders remain insistent on their demands for action. COP27 ends this Friday. Let’s wait for the final communique to gauge its commitments. They should carry an enforceable rider to hedge against well-intentioned but empty promises.