The potential of the circular economy in Africa

We are accelerating the transition of African countries to a carbon-neutral circular economy in cooperation with local, international and Finnish organisations.

What is it about?

The transition to a carbon-neutral circular economy in Africa will help to address climate change, biodiversity loss and the resulting crises. The circular economy will also help to build sustainable growth and jobs.

A circular economy focusing on local cycles can help Africa and its countries to increase resilience and better tolerate external shocks. The circular economy strongly supports the realisation in Africa of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

As a continent of emerging economies, Africa will increase its production and consumption significantly during the next few decades. A rapid and fair transition to a circular economy offers Africa and its young population an opportunity to show the world the way forward. This year’s World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF2022), to be held in Rwanda in October, will turn the spotlight on Africa’s circular economy opportunities.

What are we doing?

Sitra, the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Nordic Development Fund have launched a partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to support the promotion of a circular economy in African countries. The aim is to spread Finnish circular economy expertise to African countries with the help of the AfDB’s network. At the same time, we encourage other partners to join circular economy work. Together, we are building a new kind of co-operation between Finland and African countries that is adapted to the local contexts. Sitra is a member of the African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA).

The eyes of the world will be on African circular economy solutions when the WCEF2022 takes place in Rwanda. The event will be co-hosted by the Republic of Rwanda, ACEA and Sitra with international partners.

We will also support the network of Finnish diplomatic missions in Africa in promoting the circular economy be organising workshop webinars and by compiling a circular economy material bank for the missions to use. The first webinar for the diplomatic missions in Africa was held in September 2020.

The guide on how to create a road map to a circular economy makes the lessons learned and tips gathered from Finland’s roadmap work available to all countries interested in the circular economy.

Who is involved?

The AfDB’s circular economy programme is funded by Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Nordic Development Fund. A Finnish circular economy specialist recruited to the AfDB will promote the banks’ programme to support the African circular economy.

Where are we now?

Sitra’s work to promote the circular economy in Africa was launched in spring 2020. Co-operation with the AfDB is under way, and a Finnish circular economy specialist will start working at the AfDB in spring 2022. This year’s major circular economy event WCEF2022 will be held in Rwanda in October 2022.

Sitra’s work on the project will continue until the end of 2022.

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