Circular Economy: moving Africa towards environmental sustainability

POSTED: 22nd Sep

Africa faces economic and climate change related risks, and the circular economy can help reduce both. For Africa, the impact of COVID-19 has made thinking about the future more important than ever. Recent analysis by the African Futures and Innovation team at the Institute for Security Studies forecasts that the pandemic is set to undo several years of development progress on the continent. At the same time, COVID-19 has raised questions about how prepared we are for future disasters, especially those linked to climate change. For Africa, an important question is how to recover from COVID-19 while enhancing environmental sustainability?

The concept of a circular economy is a good starting point. A circular economy presents a shift away from the current linear take-make-waste extractive systems by designing waste out of the process. Products and materials are recycled, helping to conserve the environment and the planet’s finite resources. A number of avenues can be followed to shift towards a more sustainable and circular economy. Electricity, agriculture, urban infrastructure including transportation, plastics, manufacturing and textiles are a few examples that present economic opportunities in a circular economy.

Many existing initiatives are aimed at moving to the circular economy in Africa. For instance, the Switch Africa Green Programme promotes the use of biogas technology, E-waste management, organic agriculture, green manufacturing and eco-industrial parks. Partner countries include Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa and Uganda. In Ghana, a Waste Recovery Platform connects stakeholders and facilitates partnerships to administer waste management data and reduce policy implementation gaps. As an example of initiatives on the funding side, the African Development Bank is establishing the Africa Circular Economy Facility to support circular economy practices in member countries.

Read the full article from the Institute for Security Studies here.

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