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Circular Economy and Business Opportunities – Digital Matchmaking Event for Companies in Germany/Europe and East/West Africa

The topic of circular economy is of particular relevance, especially resource efficiency, climate and environmental protection play an increasingly important role.

Resources are becoming scarce. A number of important raw materials are in limited supply, and as the world's population grows, the demand for raw materials is also increasing. Avoiding waste and reusing resources can both save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But what exactly does circular economy mean?

Circular economy is a systems solution framework that tackles global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution. A circular economy keeps materials, products, and services in circulation for as long possible. The waste and recycling industry makes an indispensable contribution to this. The global demand for corresponding technologies is considerable and growing steadily.
 
Germany and its waste and recycling industry is regarded as a role model worldwide. There is great interest in German technology and in well-founded knowledge transfer. This development offers German companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as scientific institutions and facilities a good opportunity to expand their field of business.

The need for modern waste and recycling solutions is increasing in many African countries as well. Rising populations, economic growth and scarce resources present challenges for African governments. Urbanization, a growing middle class and increasing industrialization are leading to rising waste volumes in African countries. At the same time, the Circular Economy is still in its infancy in many African regions. Against this background, it is hardly surprising that projects in this sector are increasingly becoming the focus of attention. The rising demand for solutions in African countries in the area of the Circular Economy offers great potential, also for the German business community.

In this regard, BlackForest Solutions GmbH (BFS) and the German-African Business Association (Afrika-Verein) organized a digital matchmaking event on “Circular Economy in Africa” on 8th November 2022. Over 70 participants representing companies from African countries, including Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Rwanda, as well as Europe joined the discussion on circular economy and the potential of recycling sectors among the continents. The event was supported by the Business Scouts for Development program implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Representing the African Circular Economy Network and the African Circular Economy Alliance, Dr Bezawit Eshetu presented an overview of the circular economy status in East, West and Central Africa. Dr Eshetu also emphasized on what could make or break markets for circular economy products and services,  with the following factors playing a role in one way or another:

  1. Mainstreaming existing and emerging market systems and regional development plans African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), MEA, ABC, eco-industrial parks.
  2. Developing a market system approach across a regional value chain, bringing the downstream midstream and upstream stakeholders. It could include but is not limited to what kind of raw materials inputs, product prototype and manufacturing, enabling policies for setting up the business, transacting, retail consumers, end-of-life cycle treatment.
  3. Ecosystem service providers - business accelerators and incubators - development of individual products and services.
  4. Standardized product labels, capacity, and skills e.g. certificates, ISO standards etc.

The presentation was followed by the German RETech Partnership e.V., the network of German companies and institutions in the waste management and recycling industry for the export of innovative technologies and the transfer of know-how and an example of the waste management company BlackForest Solutions GmbH on the business opportunities for German and African companies towards circular economy.

 

Copyright: BlackForest Solutions GmbH

African companies such as Zaidi Recyclers from Tanzania, EnviroServe from Rwanda, Kubik and Petco Ethiopia from Ethiopia, Takataka Plastics, Reform Africa and Ecomak from Uganda and Electronic Waste Africa and Recyplast from Ivory Coast presented their business as best practices to the participants as well.

Their presentations opened the room to an interactive discussion between European and African attendees on the gaps and opportunities available in these specific markets. Experiences were disclosed and contact details for future B2B or B2C meetings were exchanged, closing the successful matchmaking event. Afrika-Verein has placed this topic in forefront and has conducted several events in different countries such as Ethiopia in 2022. In 2023, several business missions to Kenya, Uganda and Senegal are in the pipeline on behalf of the Ministry for Economics and Climate Action.

Business Scouts for Development work as development policy experts in more than 30 countries across the globe. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ), they advise German, European and companies in the partner countries on development policy matters and promote responsible business engagement through cooperation projects. The Business Scouts for Development work closely with partners from business associations and institutions and from TVET organizations both in Germany and in each country.

Stay tuned for future circular economy events at www.afrikaverein.de!

Copyright: BlackForest Solutions GmbH