Afri-Plastics Challenge Calls For New Ideas & Innovative Solutions To Reduce Or Eliminate Plastic Usage Across Sub-Saharan Africa

Seeking innovators with early-stage solutions and ideas that can make a difference in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

The Afri-Plastics Challenge has now launched its second strand, Creating Solutions. This Strand invites individuals or organisations with a new or early-stage idea that seeks to reduce or eliminate plastic usage across Sub-Saharan Africa to apply for the Afri-Plastics Challenge.

In recent years, the demand for plastic has substantially increased in Sub-Saharan Africa with over 17 million tonnes of waste generated by the region annually, of which only 12% of plastic waste is recycled. While scaling plastic waste collection and recycling is crucial, it cannot solve the problem alone. The quantities of waste produced easily outpace the development of waste management systems, and recycling is still not an economically or technically viable option for several types of plastic.

The Afri-Plastics Challenge aims to reduce marine plastics in Sub-Saharan African countries by finding ways to minimise reliance on plastic, develop new ways of managing plastic waste, and/or develop new uses for plastic that has been discarded. This challenge is designed for innovators and entrepreneurs across the African continent. The Challenge’s first strand, Accelerating Growth, was launched in July 2021 and it is ongoing. 

For the second strand, Creating Solutions, 25 finalists and three winners will be selected by a panel of experienced and professional judges who will assess the entries. The applicants’ ideas will be evaluated against criteria such as innovation, empowerment of women and girls, social impact in the community, environmental impact and the applicants’ capability to achieve success.  

Judges include Dr. Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo, UN Environment Programme Director & Regional Representative for Africa, Matthew Haden who is a solid waste management expert and Radhia Mtonga, a Zambian social entrepreneur. “It’s extremely exciting to be part of an initiative committed to finding innovative solutions that promote the circular plastic economy while simultaneously improving the social economic standing of women and girls in Sub-Saharan Africa” says Radhia Mtonga. 

By the end of the second strand of the Challenge, successful community-centered products and services will have demonstrated a sustainable approach to reducing the reliance on plastic that also supports the empowerment of women and girls. In the long-term, the development and scaling of the innovators’ solutions will encourage the creation of new, sustainable local enterprises, bringing economic opportunity to these communities and contributing to poverty reduction.

For more information and to apply for the Afri-Plastics Challenge Strand 2: Creating Solutions, click here. Applications close on Wednesday, 01 December 2021 12PM GMT. The Afri-Plastics Challenge is funded by the Government of Canada, and delivered by Nesta Challenges.

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