The Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, Ms. Leila Benali, on Friday in Dakar stressed the need for increased regional integration and cooperation and public-private partnerships to provide a solution to the establishment of solid waste management services and infrastructure to address waste issues in Africa.
Ms. Benali, who was speaking at a Dialogue on waste management in Africa, as part of the 2nd day of the High Level Segment of the 18th African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (CMAE), which is held under the theme “Ensuring the well-being of people and ensuring environmental sustainability in Africa”, indicated that “current waste management practices in Africa have economic, social and environmental consequences”.
The Moroccan minister noted that “the uncontrolled dumping of waste in urban areas increases the risk of disease and environmental pollution”, adding that “the disposal of organic waste generates greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change, and leachate that can pollute ground and surface water”.
Noting that the incineration in the open air of waste “results in significant air pollution which has repercussions on human health”, Ms. Benali noted that the challenge for Africa is “to meet the imperative of protecting health by ensuring that all citizens have access to appropriate waste management services, and to seize the socio-economic opportunities of waste as an alternative resource to raw materials”.
“Therefore, financial and technical support to developing countries is very necessary to ensure the financing of this just transition”, she launched, noting that an analysis of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (CEA) found a stronger correlation between jobs created and gross value added in the economy by pursuing investments in green sectors.
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) report on the Future of Waste Management in Africa, states that “diverting waste from landfills and landfills to reuse, recycling and recovery, could inject an additional $8 billion each year into the African economy and create significant socio-economic opportunities for the continent,” the Minister stressed.
In this context, the Minister for Energy Transition and Sustainable Development indicated that “urgent measures must be taken to establish a clean and green economy that will generate new jobs and growth, taking into account the need for sustainable solutions to be affordable and accessible to all.
“It is undeniable that access to financing is difficult for many countries and that there is a lack in terms of setting up bankable projects”, regretted the Minister.
She said that to promote investment, countries need to create an enabling environment that attracts private investors to the waste sector. These include reducing investment risk and boosting investor confidence.
The Minister emphasized the need to put in place investment-friendly policies and regulations and to strengthen institutions and governance, stressing that “public-private partnerships can provide a solution to the establishment of solid waste management services and infrastructure to address waste issues in Africa”.
She further added that regional collaboration can support the implementation of appropriate technologies, guided by Africa’s needs, noting that mechanisms should be created to improve regional markets, so as to achieve economies of scale. for investments.
The official believes that “increased regional integration and cooperation will help achieve higher levels of development and growth by building on Africa’s own resources and internal trade”.
“It is precisely from there that we must reinforce our actions towards an economic circularity which does not only take into account the life cycle of the product, but above all, set up value clusters by including all the actors concerned, governments, local communities, international development partners, private sector and NGOs,” she said.
In this context, the minister welcomed and supported the 50 by 2050 initiative led by Egypt, which aims to treat and recycle at least 50% of the waste produced in Africa by 2050, noting that it is also such initiatives that “will not only contribute to the improvement of the governance framework, but also to the mobilization of additional financial resources which will make it possible to meet the challenge of waste management”.
At the end of the work of this High-Level Segment, a Political Declaration and key messages will be adopted by the Ministers highlighting in particular the key actions to be pursued at the regional level for the protection of the environment, to advance global efforts on climate change, biodiversity, desertification as well as achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda.