Harnessing Technology in the Circular Economy for Climate Action in Africa

Africa’s population is expected to double by 2050, reaching 2.5 billion, and the amount of waste generated on the continent could triple by 2050, exerting further pressure on resources, economic activities, and sustainable livelihoods. While 70–80 % of the municipal solid waste generated in Africa is recyclable, only 4 % is currently recycled, and only half of all waste generated is collected, much of it disposed of in dumpsites, rendering Africa home to 19 of the 50 world’s largest dumpsites. 

In recent years, the concept of the circular economy has gained traction, as it can be applied across several sectors and achieve benefits for climate mitigation, adaptation, and sustainable resource management. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, some African governments seized the opportunity to mainstream circular policies into their green recovery plans. At the CTCN, there has been a marked increase in the number of requests globally to support the development of circular economy roadmaps, and this trend is growing in Africa.

Circular economy practices and technologies disrupt the traditional linear economy that has relied upon an unsustainable model of production and consumption, accompanied by an ever-growing quantity of waste. Given the need to design systems and technologies that increase resource efficiency, African nations are gaining momentum using the circular economy to meet their climate change and sustainable development goals while reaping a myriad of environmental, social, and economic benefits. Across a diverse range of sectors – including agriculture and food systems, the built environment, e-waste, plastics, and textiles – innovative technologies will serve as key enablers of the circular economy in Africa and beyond.

The Knowledge Brief Harnessing Technology in the Circular Economy for Climate Action in Africa showcases the opportunities in Africa to harness circular economy solutions to address climate change while highlighting key lessons and insights.

The Brief was launched during a webinar where public institutions, organisations, entrepreneurs and stakeholders shared the challenges and opportunities encountered in implementing circular economy in their business, communities, and organisations. You can watch it here

Publication date
Type of publication
Community based
Ecosystems and biodiversity
Endogenous technologies
Cross-sectoral enabler
Capacity building and training
Communication and awareness
Innovation & RDD
Waste management