Promoting African green business and circular economy for better policies
On the shores of Lake Victoria, just outside Kampala city in Uganda, State Minister for Environment of Uganda Beatrice Anywar addressed over 300 African entrepreneurs and policymakers gathered in February 2020 at the Switch Africa Green regional forum to discuss how to advance green economy in Africa.
Echoing the main lesson learned from phase 1 of Switch Africa Green, a project led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and supported by the European Union to assist Africa’s transition into green economy, Anywar said the transition to a green economy requires actions and significant technological, behavioural and systemic change at all levels of the society, including citizens, public and the private sector.
“It has been established that more radical innovations come from micro, small and medium enterprises,” Anywar said. “[These enterprises] play a key role in the transition to green economies and sustainable development in general by greening the existing business models and creating new business models that are not only economically profitable but also create environmental and social inclusiveness.”
In Africa, 125 million tonnes of municipal solid waste is said to have been generated in 2012. According to the UNEP’s Africa Waste Management Outlook, Africa only recycles 4 per cent of its waste. About 90 per cent is disposed of on land, often in uncontrolled dumpsites, while the rest is being unaccounted for. The report urges African countries to find innovative solutions to address its waste management challenges and to prepare for the expected growth in waste generation on the continent, expected to double by 2025.
Supported by Switch Africa Green project, Matilda Payne has managed to establish MH Couture, a start-up that finds alternative uses for environmental waste by turning trash to treasure.
“The Kampala forum was insightful and truly informative,” said Payne. “It enabled us to showcase our work through exhibitions, to not only reach potential customers, but also to meet like-minded entrepreneurs who shared lessons learned from their own start-ups.
Payne has benefitted from Switch Africa Green project through training, which has taught her how to expand her businesses by increasing production. Switch Africa Green helps reduce poverty, especially among women in Ghana, by empowering them through training in their field of work while creating employment and mentorship. Today, MH Couture employs 7 permanent and 68 part time workers to meet the fast-growing demand for their creations. Read more here