Digital waste management solution study and pilots for African countries underway

Circular Action is undertaking a study and pilot to establish if a digital waste management solution could improve waste collection and recycling in Southern Africa, starting with Angola and Mozambique.

The five-month long study builds on Circular Action’s experience of waste management in developing countries, and its project using the KOLEKT waste management app in Brazil, Vietnam, Mexico and Mozambique. This African study is funded by the European Union Africa RISE (Reform for Investment and Sustainable Economies) programme and involves National Waste Agency [NWA] Angola and AMOR Mozambique, where the study, and pilot project, is being carried out.

Circular Action Director, Thierry Sanders, commented, “We have already seen how transformational the use of the right technology can be in waste management, especially when it has been developed from the bottom up, in countries which have informal waste infrastructure. Each different country we work in helps us hone the technology and the approach and we look forward to working with our partners in Angola and Mozambique to identify how best to take things forward.”

Like most developing countries, waste management in Angola and Mozambique, is a major challenge caused by cultural and economic reasons, and a lack of proper urbanisation in the peripheral belt of cities. Both countries need a better market for solid waste where buyers and suppliers can transact freely, and so NWA and AMOR came to Africa RISE for support with a digital solution.

Looking to examples elsewhere, where this type of market is digitalised and successfully connects the actors involved in the recycling value chain, such as the KOLEKT app, the project will identify a digital waste management solution in Angola and Mozambique and to pilot an app model to manage waste in each country.

The main problem the study will tackle is the lack of transparency on solid waste transactions, limited pricing information, poor match between supply and demand of waste, high informality of transactions and the sector overall that makes most marginalised miss opportunities. 

The study will help stakeholders find a digital solution to respond to these issues that will monitor solid waste across the waste value chain, from production to disposal and recycling, and will have a traceability system, a payment system, and a certification system to support Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations. Once in place, the app will promote a sustainable and greener digital solution for all waste management system players to trade freely, with market forces dictating the supply and demand within a solid waste management system.

Africa RISE Deputy Team Leader, Dr Mihaela Balan, commented, “We are pleased to support a sustainable and greener digital solution, where waste management market players can trade freely, a safe space for an effective implementation of the EPR.”

The study commenced in March 2023 and will conclude in June 2023 with stakeholder workshops in Angola and Mozambique.