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The Africa Waste is Wealth Series – Eastern Africa Waste is Wealth Conference held from June 6th to June 8th, 2023, at the Trademark Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, focused on promoting effective waste management practices for environmental conservation and climate change mitigation. The conference served as a platform to address critical challenges in waste management across Eastern Africa and promote the circular economy through international dialogue, resource mobilization, and collective innovation. By establishing key policy priorities, showcasing innovative approaches, and promoting technological applications, participants aimed to raise awareness about pollution and climate change while fostering partnerships to drive meaningful change. With a focus on target countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda, the event aimed to identify policy priorities, develop investment models, and provide resources for effective waste management solutions. Overall, professionals exchanged ideas, established collaborations, and forged partnerships to achieve sustainable waste management practices and environmental conservation in the region.

Program Highlights:

The conference program featured distinguished speakers, including government officials, industry leaders, and environmental experts, who shared insights on sustainable waste management practices and policy frameworks. Sessions covered various topics such as private sector preparedness for COP28, green transition and the circular economy, the role of technology in waste management, financing for circular economy initiatives, and implementation approaches to extended producer responsibility (EPR) regulations.

Keynote Speakers and Panels:

High-level guest speakers included representatives from the government and organizations such as UNILEVER Kenya, UN Global Compact, and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, among others. Panels and discussions delved into topics like the circular economy, green financing, policy and regulatory landscapes, and the role of innovation in driving climate financing.

Notable speakers included CEOs such as Mavji Varsani of Vintz Plastics and Michael Koech from Airtel Africa, along with representatives from UNDP, Safaricom, and KPMG East Africa. A highlight was the presentation of TRASHCON’s innovative material recovery facility by CEO Raghavan M. Nivedha, demonstrating successful South-to-South waste management. Additionally, Michael Kalo from TakaTaka Ni Mali presented key research findings on waste management policy, circular economy, and green finance in East Africa, providing attendees with valuable insights into the region’s progress and opportunities. These sessions fostered knowledge exchange and collaboration among industry experts and stakeholders toward sustainable waste management practices.

Conference Themes:
The conference addressed a wide range of pressing issues related to waste management and environmental sustainability. Some of these themes included:

  • Manufacturing & Packaging Waste: Exploring strategies for reducing waste generated from manufacturing processes and packaging materials, with a focus on sustainable production practices and materials.
  • Hazardous Waste: Examining methods for handling and disposing of hazardous waste materials safely, while minimizing environmental and health risks.
  • Green Financing: Exploring financial mechanisms and investment opportunities to support initiatives in waste management, circular economy projects, and sustainable development.
  • Water and Sanitation: Considering the intersection of waste management with water and sanitation issues, including the impact of improper waste disposal on water quality and public health.
  • Transport & Logistics: Addressing logistical challenges in waste collection, transportation, and recycling processes, with a focus on optimizing efficiency and reducing environmental impacts.
  • Advancing Carbon Credit Initiatives in Kenya

Speaker Highlights

John Bosco Kalisa, the Executive Director of the East African Business Council, spoke on why policy making and implementation is crucial to achieving sustainable waste management across the East Africa region.

Our Enterprise & Development Lead, Micheal Kalo, talked about green finance and how organizations are fueling climate change initiatives to propel us towards a greener sustainable economy.

Judith Sidi Odhiambo, Head of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs at the KCB Group highlighted on their vision to empower SMEs with green lending opportunities through partnering with financial institutions as we join hands to reduce carbon emissions. She also stated that they had seen the opportunities within carbon credits and they believe it’s the future.

We had Clayton Chaparadza, a Business Analyst at Unilever, who spoke more on Transform Global – Unilever, UK Government and EY – led partnership in implementation of TakaTaka Ni Mali’s digital platform (Ecoloop) has scaled our waste management efforts by automating and providing data to make informed decisions to our partner organizations.

The FliFlopi Project’s representative, Davina Ngei; Community Engagement and business Development, mentioned that for them, the AWWS Conference was an opportunity to learn from other players in industry, get inspired and showcase their achievements in plastic waste regeneration.

Bonnie Mbithi, the C.E.O at WEEE Center, stated that building a robust partnership and establishing an effective system for the entire waste value chain is crucial for proper management and recycling of waste. Such a system would ensure transparency, traceability, and accountability at every stage, from waste pickers to recyclers.

Exhibition:

The conference also featured an exhibition where organizations showcased their initiatives and solutions in sustainable waste management. Exhibitors included TakaTaka Solutions, Mr. Green Africa, Vintz Plastics Ltd, The FlipFlopi Project, and others.

The Eastern Africa Waste is Wealth Conference provided a platform for stakeholders to exchange ideas, collaborate on solutions, and address the challenges of waste management in the region. By bringing together government agencies, private sector leaders, and civil society organizations, the conference contributed to advancing the agenda of environmental sustainability and climate resilience in Eastern Africa.

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