The sixth World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF2022) has just concluded in the Rwandan capital. The organisers and participants of this event have drafted a joint declaration that calls on the African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA) and the African Circular Economy Network (ACEN) to convene the African Circular Economy Forum (ACEF).
WCEF2022 #5. Our series in partnership with the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra.
The World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF2022), which ended on 8 December 2022, brought together 2,000 online and face-to-face participants in Kigali, Rwanda, and in other sub-Saharan capitals where regional (studio) events were organised. The WCEF attracted participants from all over Africa and the world, representing governments, the private sector, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), experts and national and international organisations, local communities, youth, academics, development partners, investors and financial institutions.
The event organised under the theme “From Africa to the World” explored major themes, both opportunities and threats, relevant to global development in which circularity will have to play a major role, notably through climate protection and nature regeneration, youth, infrastructure development, and accelerated innovation, as well as fair trade and localised value chains.
Focus on North-South and South-South cooperation
Participants at the 6th WCEF call on all African countries to become members of the African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA) and invite all stakeholders and representatives of the WCEF2022 to support ACEA to undertake the development, advancement and implementation of circular economy policies, strategies and plans for the sustainable development of African economies.
WCEF2022 calls on the African Circular Economy Alliance to foster collaboration with other partnerships such as the Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency (GACERE), and other regional networks to strengthen North-South and South-South cooperation. All WCEF2022 stakeholders also agreed to work together now and in the future to create, plan, innovate, take action and share the benefits of a circular economy for Africa and the world at large.
Towards the convening of the African Circular Economy Forum
Also, WCEF2022 invites its African partners, notably Acea and the African Circular Economy Network (ACEN) to convene the African Circular Economy Forum (ACEF). This will be a platform to advance the circular economy agenda in Africa. Its establishment requires the support of African states to remove barriers and promote a circular economy on the continent.
The WCEF2022 also encourages African states to accelerate the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in order to strengthen Africa’s role in global value chains and intra-continental trade. They should also put in place circular economy policies, strategies and plans to help mitigate and adapt to climate change and halt biodiversity loss.
The key role of the private sector
African countries are thus called upon to create an enabling environment for circular businesses to flourish in order to realise the societal, economic and environmental benefits of the circular economy for Africa and the world. At the same time, countries and financial institutions must shift capital flows from linear business models to the circular economy by promoting sustainable financing strategies and green investments.
These investments will ultimately place the circular economy at the centre of Africa’s urbanisation and sustainable infrastructure development. And to do this, the private sector also has a role to play. It must help advance local technologies and leverage youth innovation to drive the circular economy in Africa and globally. Scaling up existing circular economy solutions will bring economic and social benefits, while reducing the negative impact of the current economic model on the environment.
And in the process, all African businesses, individuals, academic institutions and civil society organisations are called upon to become members of ACEN. This will be evaluated at the 7th WCEF, which takes place from 30 May to 1 June 2023 in Helsinki, Finland.
Jean Marie Takouleu