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WCEF2022 brought real results – major steps to accelerate the circular economy in Africa

The World Circular Economy Forum 2022 put the Global South in the spotlight for nearly 4,200 global participants. What were the real results and key takeaways? Read our Summary Report to find out.


Tuula Sjöstedt

Specialist, Communications and Public Affairs


For the first time since its origin in Finland in 2017, the World Circular Economy Forum turned to the south last year. Hosted in Kigali, Rwanda – the green heart of the continent – WCEF2022 gathered 4,167 participants from 149 countries to chew over the main target: how Africa can contribute to a global circular economy.

The versatile audience gathered in several locations around Africa and the globe to make plans together. Based upon the events of the Forum and the views of the participants, we collected ideas on how to supercharge the circular economy at regional, national and universal levels. The participants’ intention is that the impact of the Forum will go beyond the three-day assembly and leave its mark on the African continent and the globe with newfound inspiration, inclusivity, determination and results.

The World Circular Economy Forum 2022 was co-hosted by the Government of Rwanda, the African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA), the African Circular Economy Network (ACEN) and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, together with 16 partners and many more international collaborators.

Read more about the real results and key takeaways of WCEF2022 below or dig into the Summary Report.

Highlights of the Forum

Several plans and agreements were launched at last year’s Forum. Most notable were the major partnerships to improve the circular economy momentum in Africa, with Rwanda in a key role. Here are some of the highlights.

  • The Global Circular Economy Roadmap Initiative was launched, lead by Chatham House with international partners. The initiative supports policy exchanges, knowledge sharing and creates a common vision for an inclusive circular economy.
  • The Rwanda Circular Economy Roadmap and Action Plan was strengthened with new partners and a 211-million-dollar funding programme. The plan aims for a carbon-neutral Rwanda by 2050 and focuses primarily on waste, construction, agriculture and water.
  • Circular South Africa (CSA) was launched at the South African Studio. CSA is a digital platform to facilitate co-operation, co-ordination and networking between businesses, government, knowledge institutions and civil society organisations involved in the circular economy.
  • The host for Circular Economy Hotspot 2024 was announced. The annual event will be hosted for the first time in South Africa showcasing circular activities and sharing the country’s best business practices, policies and approaches.
  • The African Circular Economy Network (ACEN) Zambian Chapter was formed in the lead up to the event to facilitate the Zambian Studio that brought together local experts, entrepreneurs and public groups to share experiences and visions.
  • The Government of Chad submitted a request to join the African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA).

Next stop: Helsinki

The next Forum will cover new ground for the future ahead. WCEF2023 will be hosted in Helsinki from 30 May to 2 June by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and Nordic Innovation, two key players driving a transition to a circular economy in the Nordic countries and globally.

We already know why circularity is a must. With specific attention paid to agriculture and forestry, energy and minerals, the next Forum will challenge us all to explore how the circular economy can benefit nature – the source of life we all depend on. Join us and build a circular future!

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