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AfDB introduces new model to help turn Ugandan economy

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AfDB head Akinwumi

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda has been selected among five African countries to be supported by the African Development Bank to develop circular economy policies.

A circular economy is an economic system based on the reuse and regeneration of products to continue production sustainably, minimizing waste, and increasing the life cycle of products.

It differs from the prevailing linear economic model, in which products are manufactured, used up, and disposed of or discarded.

It has been found that when applied as an industrialization strategy, the circular economy has the potential to decouple resource use from economic development to help address key African challenges such as climate change, food security, water scarcity, and natural resources management.

One such example is Uganda one of five countries, along with Benin, Ethiopia and Cameroon, benefiting from ACEF’s multi-country national circular economy roadmap project. Uganda’s Vision 2040, provided the foundations (as early as 2007) for a “green economy and clean environment where the ecosystem is sustainably managed and the liveability of the urban systems is greatly improved”

Furthermore, the Uganda Green Growth Development Strategy (2017) provides policy options that enhance and exploit synergies between economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social equity reconciling the existing economic, social and environmental conflicts.

The strategy’s focus on areas with the highest green growth potential in terms of investments comprises agriculture, natural capital management, green cities (urban development), transport, and energy.

A development model for Africa based on circular economy principles offers an opportunity to tackle issues such as poverty, poor infrastructure, and unemployment prevalent within the continent, which has been further exacerbated by the impacts of climate change.

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Some of the practices under this model are already being practiced out of individual initiative though they are not guided by specific policies and guidelines. For example, plastic bottle collection points can now be found in each part of the country. The process of developing a circular economy roadmap for Uganda will be launched next week at the Kampala Sheraton Hotel.

According to the Africa Development Bank, the support to Uganda is funded by the Africa Circular Economy Facility (ACEF), a multi-donor trust fund of the Bank.

It is hoped that it will enable Uganda to leverage circular economy opportunities to address challenges and achieve its national goals. It proposes a roadmap that is expected to serve as a crucial tool for mainstreaming the circular economy into national development instruments to drive growth.

It will also guide on policies and projects needed to shift the country from a linear production model to a circular one. The circular economy has the potential to significantly contribute to climate action by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 60% by 2050 while enabling a transition to sustainable and clean energy sources.

It offers a pathway for comprehensive societal transformation and innovation, with significant economic potential for green growth.

The ideas about the circular economy has been supported by the Africa Development Bank. Countries like neighboring Rwanda already embarked on activities in that line.

Dr.  Anthony Nyong, Director of Climate Change and Green Growth at the African Development Bank says in Africa, the circular economy represents an annual market opportunity of approximately $8 billion. Circular economy interventions were discussed at the recent UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai.

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Emmanuel Siakilo, Senior Advisor of Climate Change at the African Union Commission, emphasized the importance of the Circular economy in Africa.

“Africa has numerous opportunities to not only tackle climate change but also position itself as a global solution to address the climate crisis,” he noted.

“This (circularity in Africa) is an important discussion to have, for Africa but also the globe because if waste is managed in all sectors, then clearly we are reducing discussions around major challenges that affect the world today”. Africa has made progress toward a circular economy.

The African Union Commission (AUC) has devised the Continental Circular Economy Action Plan for Africa, which serves as a roadmap for the transition to a circular model.

The African Development Bank plays a crucial enabling role in promoting circularity across the continent through the ACEF, which is currently the only multi-donor trust fund dedicated to mainstreaming the circular economy in Africa.

Dr.  Rose Mwebaza, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Director and Representative in Africa, emphasizes the need for further support in transitioning African countries to circularity, saying, “We need to strengthen partnerships and alliances so that we define common goals and collaboratively mobilize resources needed to finance this implementation.”

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