University of Cape Town

Climate Adaptation in Africa

Taught in English

Some content may not be translated

8,022 already enrolled


Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

Mark New

Instructor: Mark New


(103 reviews)

Beginner level
No prior experience required
18 hours to complete
3 weeks at 6 hours a week
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

What you'll learn

  • Ways of building resilience to climate risks through adaptation by taking into account what is critically important for future development.

  • New insights into climate adaptation in theory and in practice using cases from Africa and globally.

Details to know

Shareable certificate

Add to your LinkedIn profile


16 quizzes

See how employees at top companies are mastering in-demand skills


Earn a career certificate

Add this credential to your LinkedIn profile, resume, or CV

Share it on social media and in your performance review


There are 6 modules in this course

We start by exploring the linkages between social and economic development in Africa and climate change. We look at the anticipated changes in the future climate of the region and how this could impact on the development trajectory. I cover both contemporary climate risks and future climate change and how those interact with development. I also introduce the key concepts around climate adaptation that this course in based on.

What's included

15 videos4 readings3 quizzes1 discussion prompt

We'll start by examining the nature of risks to water security and the approaches to adaptation to changes in water supply - whether it is dealing with greater scarcity or more extreme weather events such as flooding. Water security is a key factor in social and economic development. Responding involves investigating climate adaptation strategies, especially at a regional level, not just at a global scale. The cases this week, presented by experts working on water security issues, are from Lesotho and South Africa.

What's included

13 videos2 readings3 quizzes1 discussion prompt

We’ll start off looking at the nature of agriculture across regions in Africa and the current situation of food security. Eradicating poverty through creating food security is a key sustainable development goal. We will analyse food security in terms of availability, access and utilisation - and how each of these aspects can be affected by climate change. I’ll be providing some information about the projected impacts of climate change on agriculture before moving onto look at adaptative strategies. The cases this week offer a rich variety of contextual examples from smart agriculture in Mauritius to changes being made by Namibian livestock farmers.

What's included

14 videos2 readings2 quizzes1 peer review1 discussion prompt

This week we’ll examine the mechanisms which make ecosystems vulnerable to climate change and other human-driven impacts. Ecosystems and the services they provide play a significant role for the livelihoods of people living across Africa. We will also look at the observed and projected impacts of the changing climate. We look at adaptation strategies from Tanzania as cases that illustrate some of the important issues.

What's included

11 videos2 readings3 quizzes1 discussion prompt

With the higher concentrations of population in cities, comes a higher exposure to risk from climate change impacts. In African cities, many people live in informal settlements, which make them particularly at risk. Cities have many assets - such as transport, telecommunications, building and critical infrastructure - that are vulnerable to damage from extreme weather events. As cities serve as economic and political hubs, damage or disruption in cities can often have a larger impact on the region or even entire country. Adaptation measures for cities is a complex as there are intersecting issues. Our cases this week look at three cities - Maputo, Cape Town and Durban - which illustrate the adaptations being adopted.

What's included

13 videos2 readings3 quizzes1 discussion prompt

In this final week, we move from assessing risk to making adaptation plans. There are adaptation planning tools which are especially helpful for identifying the key steps in making an adaptation plan. An early stage of such processes is to assess the current vulnerabilities which for African contexts means we look at the deficits and begin implementing adaptation right away. This can have both an immediate valuable outcome as well as an anticipated positive impact in the future. Later adaptation planning stages involve identifying key stakeholders and building partnerships, as well as mobilising resources to make it happen. Having the resources and organisational capacity is key as seen in our cases from across a variety of socio-political contexts, resources and levels of governance.

What's included

12 videos2 readings2 quizzes1 peer review1 discussion prompt


Instructor ratings
4.7 (50 ratings)
Mark New
University of Cape Town
2 Courses28,199 learners

Offered by

Recommended if you're interested in Environmental Science and Sustainability

Why people choose Coursera for their career

Felipe M.
Learner since 2018
"To be able to take courses at my own pace and rhythm has been an amazing experience. I can learn whenever it fits my schedule and mood."
Jennifer J.
Learner since 2020
"I directly applied the concepts and skills I learned from my courses to an exciting new project at work."
Larry W.
Learner since 2021
"When I need courses on topics that my university doesn't offer, Coursera is one of the best places to go."
Chaitanya A.
"Learning isn't just about being better at your job: it's so much more than that. Coursera allows me to learn without limits."

Learner reviews

Showing 3 of 103


103 reviews

  • 5 stars


  • 4 stars


  • 3 stars


  • 2 stars


  • 1 star



Reviewed on Dec 23, 2018


Reviewed on Oct 30, 2018


Reviewed on Apr 15, 2021


Open new doors with Coursera Plus

Unlimited access to 7,000+ world-class courses, hands-on projects, and job-ready certificate programs - all included in your subscription

Advance your career with an online degree

Earn a degree from world-class universities - 100% online

Join over 3,400 global companies that choose Coursera for Business

Upskill your employees to excel in the digital economy

Frequently asked questions