The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in the first major attempt to calculate both the human and financial cost, found that air pollution causes 712,000 premature deaths a year in Africa and costing £364bn. This premature death figure is compared to approximately 542,000 from unsafe water, 275,000 from malnutrition and 391,000 from unsafe sanitation.

This could develop into a health and climate crisis reminiscent of those seen in China and India, and the study stresses that there is not nearly enough knowledge of the sources of air pollution and its impact in much of Africa.