Globally, every human produces roughly 0.74kg of waste a day, with 40% ending up on landfill, therefore making waste an incredibly important sustainable topic. Methane is one of the biggest contributors to climate change and waste contributes 20% of the methane that is generated.

African nations over the last 30 years have been making important decisions on how to tackle and manage waste. Decisions included the 1991 Bamako Convention on the Ban of the Import into Africa, the Control of Transboundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes within Africa, the 2008 Libreville Declaration on Health and Environment in Africa and the 2013 African Union who have committed to recycling 50% of urban waste by 2023.

Waste management has not yet become efficient in Africa, as under 10% of waste is treated and recycled, the majority of waste is still being thrown on landfill sites. This is due to a lack of investment, infrastructure and framework.

The management of waste is, however, due to increase by 2050, as a result of booming demographics and the forecasted growth of the economy in Africa.

There are several factors explaining why Africa has a waste management issue, including:

  • Collection backlogs
  • Funding and investments are insufficient
  • Lack of effective governance framework
  • Limited continental co-operation
  • Open and illegal dumping of waste
  • Stakeholders have a weak awareness
  • The private sector has a limited integration

The initiative will be launched at COP27 by the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt to treat and recycle 50% of solid waste in Africa by 2050.

The aim of the initiative is to reduce waste and its pollution to increase human health, and reduce the effects on biodiversity, food and resources, through adaptation and mitigation solutions.

Financing support is needed
A 28-year roadmap and a pipeline of projects will be provided to endorse stakeholders in order for the 2050 target to be achieved. There will also be a detailed assessment which will outline the investment needed in different areas of waste management for it to be successful and efficient.

This initiative is the first of its kind to address all solid waste types and propose collaboration from stakeholders that will be involved in the management of waste of Africa. The initiative hopes to create new investment opportunities, increase socio-economic development, and contribute to action against climate change.