The transition to circular economy, a generic term for an industrial economy that does not produce waste and pollution, is still yet to gain ground in Africa, with the continent still struggling to balance the demand for economic growth with responsible development.
But proponents of circular economy say Africa will benefit immensely if it adopts in its growth framework and could potentially transform the continent.
“Africa will go directly from an undeveloped situation to one that is developed and therefore for Africa to reach the technological age, circular economy will be a strong help for them. If not, it will slow down the continents growth,” said Jean-Louis Chaussade, CEO of SUEZ.
The adoption of circular economy will enable Africa to accelerate its growth.
Experts say circular economic models aim to maximize access to the goods and services that increase people’s quality of life, while minimizing the physical resources needed to achieve this.
Essentially, the models find ways to close loops at one or more stages of the production chain, ultimately circulating resources back into usefulness.
This is in direct contrast to the linear economic model which only leads to wastages.
Instead of the making-taking-disposing, which is the norm, the circular model aims to keep things in the system. It aims to maintain and restore goods, then reuse or redistribute them, then re-manufacture them, only lastly to recycle them. Ideally, nothing ends up in landfill.
“Today, in the world of plastics, a lot of people are talking about how plastics are being dumped in the sea and how that can be managed. Africa and undeveloped countries are probably providing 80 per cent of plastics going to the sea because they do not have the means to collect, sort and recycle those products,” Chaussade warns on the lost opportunity.