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Rwanda to host the World Circular Economy Forum 2022

For the first time ever, this year’s World Circular Economy Forum will take place in Africa. WCEF2022 will be hosted jointly by the Republic of Rwanda, the African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA) and The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, with international partners. The main event will be hosted by Rwanda, one of ACEA’s founding members. The announcement was made on the sidelines of the Europe-Africa Business Forum today.

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Tuula Sjöstedt

Lead, Communications and Public Affairs, Sitra

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“The circular economy can be a game changer for Africa’s development. WCEF2022 is an opportunity for Rwanda and the continent as a whole to showcase our traditions of environmental stewardship, and to explore ways of making the transition to a fully circular economy a reality” said Rwanda’s Minister of Environment, Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, during her keynote address at a high-level event on business co-operation for the circular economy organised today by the African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA) and the European Commission.

The event highlighted the long-standing economic partnership between Africa and Europe and discussed how the circular economy can be further embedded into regional co-operation to promote sustainable development. ACEA is a government-led coalition whose mission is to spur Africa’s transition to the circular economy through policy development, business scale-up as well as leadership and advocacy.

“Africa is a vast continent and plays a crucial role in the circular economy also globally. Finland supports the global transition towards circularity, and hosting WCEF2022 in Africa is a natural step for this global collaboration arena”, says Sitra’s President Jyrki Katainen, former European Commission’s Vice President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness and former Prime Minister of Finland.

The upcoming WCEF2022 will be organised jointly by the African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA) and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, in close collaboration with selected international partners. The forum will represent the aspirations of the African continent and its position in the global economy.

While the programme has not yet been released, the forum will explore major themes relevant to Africa’s development, in which circularity could play a big role. The themes to address include climate and nature, youth, infrastructure, entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as trade and value chains.

WCEF2022 will also present some of the world’s best circular economy solutions. It will examine how businesses from Africa and elsewhere can seize new opportunities and gain a competitive advantage in the transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient economies. It is expected to take place in early October in Kigali and online. The forum programme and dates will be announced later.

Further information on the event

ACEA secretariat at the African Development Bank, acea@dalberg.com

Mika Sulkinoja, Global collaboration, Sustainability solutions, The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, mika.sulkinoja@sitra.fi

Media contacts

Samuli Laita, Communications, The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, samuli.laita@sitra.fi

Basile Uwimana, Communication & Outreach Specialist, Ministry of Environment of Rwanda, buwimana@environment.gov.rw

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The circular economy and the World Circular Economy Forum

The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra is an active fund for the future. It aims to create a fair and sustainable future and work with partners to ensure that Finland can lead the way in the transition to a fair and competitive carbon-neutral circular economy – a new society in which our everyday lives and well-being are no longer based on excessive consumption and fossil fuel use. Sitra was founded in 1967 and is an independent public foundation operating directly under the supervision of the Finnish Parliament. Finland was the first country in the world to develop a road map to a circular economy in 2016 and has a strategic programme to promote a circular economy.

The World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) is an annual high-level event that brings together thousands of business leaders, policymakers and experts from countries all over the world to present the world’s best circular economy solutions. WCEF also offers a platform for more focused events and Side Events.

The circular economy is the new paradigm for business which aims to achieve economic growth through new sustainable business models. According to research from Accenture, the circular economy could generate 4.5 trillion US dollars’ worth of additional economic output by 2030. The research identifies circular business models that will help decouple economic growth from natural resource consumption while driving greater competitiveness.

Co-hosts

The African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA) is a government-led coalition of African nations with a mission to spur Africa’s transformation to a circular economy that delivers economic growth, jobs, and positive environmental outcomes. It was conceived in 2016 during the World Economic Forum on Africa with the mindset of developing Africa’s circular economy ecosystem while capitalizing on its development opportunities.

The Alliance serves as a platform that supports the transition to a circular economy at the national, regional, and continental levels through policy development, leadership and advocacy, and support in scaling circular businesses and projects.

The Alliance membership is voluntary and rapidly expanding. It is comprised of the founding countries Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa, and the members Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Sudan.

ACEA also collaborates with strategic partners which are like-minded institutions supporting the circular economy agenda in Africa. Current partners include the African Circular Economy Network (ACEN), African Development Bank, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, European Commission, Footprints Africa, Global Environment Facility (GEF), Governments of Finland and The Netherlands, ICLEI Africa, Konrad-Adenauer Foundation, Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE), UN Environment and World Economic Forum (WEF).

Rwanda is a founding member of the African Circular Economy Alliance and serves as Co-chair, a role assumed by the Ministry of Environment through the provision of thought-leadership on the governance of ACEA. The country is located in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa and is eponymously referred to as the “Land of a thousand hills” due to its high elevation and its geography dominated by mountains.

For the past two decades, Rwanda has been at the forefront of the circular economy transition. It was one of the first countries in the world to ban the use of plastic bags in 2008, a decision motivated by the desire to tackle littering and pollution in the country. Rwanda also collaborated with Peru to draft the resolution for an “Internationally legally binding instrument on plastic pollution” at UNEA 5 in 2021. Recently, the Government of Rwanda developed its first ever Circular Economy Action Plan that lays out priority options and underlying activities to advance the circular economy in waste, water, agriculture and construction. The Action Plan also considers a cross-cutting component that focalizes capacity building, collaboration and private sector engagement for the upcoming fifteen years. Its capital Kigali is often ranked Africa’s cleanest city and is considered one of the safest on the continent.

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