The African Development Bank urges action for sustainable production & consumption

AFRICA, March 5, 2024 / — At the sixth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA6), the African Development Bank has called for African countries to take urgent, concrete measures to adopt circular economy practices and boost efficient resource use for sustainable production and consumption.

“Africa is brimming with potential for circularity and industrialization with a market valued at $250 billion. Unleashing this potential requires creating the right environment and policies for the private sector to lead the continent’s industrial revolution”, emphasized Dr. Anthony Nyong, Director of the AfDB Climate Change and Green Growth Department, ahead of the Bank’s participation at UNEA 6.

As global leaders gathered in Nairobi to address the connected challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, the African Development Bank is underscoring the importance of efficient resource use through the circular economy to address these pressing issues while also supporting Africa’s sustainable industrialization.

The 2024 Circularity Gap Report , released in January 2024 by the Circle Economy Foundation and Deloitte, highlights several data points that heighten the urgency of action. For instance, in 2023 alone, 500 gigatons of materials including freshwater, land, and minerals were consumed, representing 28% of all materials used since 1900. As 83% of African countries rely heavily on their own natural resources, this rapid depletion poses a major threat to the continent.

Collaboration is key for the African continent to leverage the benefits of circularity and should therefore be prioritized at every level: “The Paris Agreement emphasizes the need for global cooperation, with wealthier countries providing support to lower-income countries in the form of financial resources, technology transfer, and capacity-building. This is essential to aid their efforts in mitigating and (crucially) adapting to climate change,” as stated by the Circularity Gap report

Davinah Milenge, Principal Program Coordinator represented the Bank Group at a side event hosted by the Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency (GACERE) on February 27. During the event, on the pivotal role that financial institutions can play in accelerating the transition to circular economies, Milenge reiterated the Bank’s commitment to drive the mainstreaming of circular economy across Africa in line with the African Union Commission’s Continental Circular Economy Action Plan 2024-2034.

The Bank Group has been actively working to advance circularity across Africa. In 2022, it established the African Circular Economy Facility (ACEF), a multi-donor grants trust fund that is mainstreaming the circular economy as an inclusive green growth strategy in its regional member countries. ACEF has supported Uganda, Benin, Chad, Cameroon, and Ethiopia in implementing a circular economy roadmap and in enhancing government capacity. In 2024, ACEF’s Business Support Program is providing grants and technical support to a pilot group of 30 circular economy startups in Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda, and Ghana.

ACEF also provides support to the African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA), a platform for African governments to spearhead circular practices in economic development. The ACEA secretariat is hosted at the African Development Bank in the Climate Change and Green Growth Department.

At UNEA 6, the African Development Bank, as a member of the Advisory board on the development of the Global Circularity Protocol, also pledged support for science-based, people-centered standards and metrics to advance the circular economy as a lever for green and inclusive economic transformation on the continent. The Global Circularity Protocol Advisory Board is a business-led initiative spearheaded by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the One Planet Network (OPN).

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