The African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA) has launched a report that highlights five sectors that have the greatest potential to further drive the circular economy.
The report, which looks at a model that promotes better resource management, focuses on the following sectors: food systems, the built environment, fashion and textile, electronics, and packaging.
The report, “Five Big Bets for the Circular Economy,” was launched on 15 April as the ACEA wrapped up its annual meeting. As a strategic partner and host of its secretariat, the African Development Bank (AfDB) organised the event in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.
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Al-Hamndou Dorsouma, Acting Director of Climate Change and Green Growth at the African Development Bank, ACEA secretariat host: “Making ‘big bets’ for the circular economy can lead to a range of benefits for Africa, such as the creation of higher value supply chains and newfound resilience, enabled by self-sufficiency and localisation.”
The roles of markets and consumers, education, trade, partnerships and innovation are key to driving the circular economy transition, speakers said. As president of Sitra, one of the most forward-thinking institutions on the circular economy, Jyrki Katainen said the Five Big Bets framework provided a roadmap for inclusive growth in Africa.
In the private sector, circular enterprises are contributing to improving the environment while sustaining livelihoods in Africa. One of those enterprises is Ecopost, which has upcycled 5 million kilograms of plastic waste into building materials and created over 2,000 jobs for youth and women. Founder Lorna Rutto noted that “entrepreneurs need an enabling environment and the infrastructure to scale up and replicate their business models.”
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Speakers said the African Continental Free Trade Area created many opportunities. “At the end of the day, the name of the game is collaboration,” said Samuel Alemayehu, Global Director of waste management company Cambridge Industries Ltd.
Corporate social responsibility leader Dougie Brew noted that the African context was one where people needed to consume more but better to maintain sustainable development efforts. Wrapping up the discussion, moderator James Mwangi, Executive Director of Dalberg Group, said Africa was a fragmented continent of 54 nations that need to move as a unified bloc to successfully unlock the Five Big Bets.