Circular economy, a pathway to sustainable economic growth in Africa

By Samuel Ouma

Circular practices and policies have been identified as some of the potentials for African economic growth, said Jocelyne Landry Tsonang, a team member of the Africa Circular Economy Network (ACEN).

Speaking during a virtual conference organized by Revolve Circular, Jocelyne said if embraced, a circular economy will ensure more sustainable exploitations of resources by preserving their potential for future generations. It also can improve people, the planet, and profit in industries like agribusiness, construction, textile, energy, transportation, manufacturing, and packaging.

The conference also highlighted challenges hindering the implementation of circular practices in Africa, including the lack of institutional capacity and proper understanding of the concept. Many policy-makers have not yet grasped the various benefits and the scope of Circularity for the continent. There is also the misconception that a circular economy is the same as waste management and recycling, only the last resort.

Another problem is regulatory frameworks that do not exist or are counterproductive and a need to embed circular economy education in curricula and practice it in schools & campuses, which would enable the younger generation to work towards a circular Africa.

At the same time, Revolve Circular, through its President Sören Bauer, revealed that on April 19, 2021, in partnership with Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at the Utrecht University, it will be launching Imagine Circularity, the first-ever global survey Initiative engaging citizens and other stakeholders around the world to provide the views, perceptions, and ideas on what the circular economy is.

“The necessary transformation from a linear economy obsessed with an economic growth paradigm to a circular and inclusive society will not happen in well-written reports, press releases or in Zoom meetings,” said Sören.

“In our partnership with REVOLVE Circular we provide expertise from many years of sustainability and circular economy research to ensure the global survey is methodologically strong and captures Circularity in a holistic manner. In addition to a global report, we hope to be able to produce a range of country, city, and industry reports, as many various partners from different countries are already planning to join us in this global effort. We will also use the survey’s findings for producing scientific evidence on how different stakeholders in various world regions and industries understand and perceive the circular economy globally,” said Professor Walter Vermeulen from the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

The survey outcome will provide insights on the different understandings and perceptions on the topic among stakeholders and nations.

The initiative will be launched in the English language only, and partners can join it by translating it into their respective languages until November 30, 2021.

However, they can extend the generic survey and adapt it into a culturally customized version for their respective country after November.

Partners worldwide are invited to join Revolve Circular and the Copernicus Institute to bring the global opinion poll to their university, city, country, or industry.

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