Improving present day and future estimates of anthropogenic sectoral emissions and the resulting air quality impacts in Africa
The African continent is undergoing immense social and economic change, particularly regarding population growth and urbanization, where the urban population in Africa is anticipated to increase by a factor of 3 over the next 40 years. To understand the potential health impacts from this demographical shift and design efficient emission mitigation strategies, we used improved Africa-specific emissions that account for inefficient combustion sources for a number of sectors such as transportation, household energy generation, waste burning, and home heating and cooking. When these underrepresented emissions sources are combined with the current estimates of emissions in Africa, ambient particulate matter concentrations from present-day anthropogenic activity contributes to 13,210 annual premature deaths, with the largest contributions (38%) coming from residential emissions. By scaling both the population and the emissions for projected national-scale levels of growth, the predicted health impact grows to approximately 78,986 annual premature deaths by 2030 with 45% now resulting from emissions related to energy combustion. In order to mitigate this resulting increase in premature deaths, three scenarios have been developed which reduce sector-specific future emissions based on prior targets for technological improvements and emission controls in transportation, energy production and residential activities. These targeted potential mitigation strategies can avoid up to 37% of the estimated annual premature deaths by 2030 with the largest opportunity being a reduction of 10,868 annual deaths from switching half of the energy generation in South Africa to renewable technologies.