American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Assessing the Environmental and Socio-Economic Risk Factors of Climate Vulnerability in Low-Income Settlements of Kitwe City in Zambia

George Kasali, Julius Kanyembo, Mapenzi Phiri and Mainza Sibajene

DOI : 10.3844/ajessp.2017.149.166

American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Volume 13, Issue 2

Pages 149-166


Recent findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have clearly shown that climate change represents an urgent and irreversible threat to human societies and the planet and especially to the social and economic development of Africa.Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine and identify the risk factors associated with climate vulnerability in selected slum settlements of Kitwe city in Zambia. The methodological approach utilized household questionnaire surveys of one middle-income (Kwacha East) and four low-income (Ipusukilo, Mulenga, Chipata and Kawama) settlements to determine the Climate Vulnerability Index (CVI) based on exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity of the settlements. The results show that the elements of exposure in Kitwe are hot temperatures, heavy rain falls, flooding, gusty winds and occasional colder temperatures. Ipusukilo and Chipata have the highest CVIs and overall, the CVI for the middle-income settlement is almost five times lower than the average CVI for all the four low-income settlements. This relatively heightened sensitivity to climate-induced shocks is conditioned by very low levels of adaptive capacity within the low-income settlements. However, the social capital dimension of adaptive capacity is found to be very low across all the five settlements. Therefore, empirically, the main constraint to climate resilience is the low level of organizational capacity to mobilize both internal and external resources for technological capacity-building, human resource development and wealth-creation.


© 2017 George Kasali, Julius Kanyembo, Mapenzi Phiri and Mainza Sibajene. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.