On 6 and 7 December 2022, the annual World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) will kick off in Kigali, Rwanda. As part of the Forum’s programme, the African Circular Economy Network (ACEN) is organising five African Studios. These studios are extensions of the main Forum and will live-stream some sessions with networking events and other engaging activities. One of the in-person Studios will take place in Cape Town. Held for the very first time in the global south, this annual event aims to showcase the world’s leading circular-economy solutions.

The WCEF belief is that Africa could well be poised to lead the world towards this new, more resilient and regenerative economy, as a result of its key features of vast natural resources, a youthful population and strong entrepreneurial focus.

As one of five in-person events taking place across Africa, the ACEN-hosted South Africa Studio will explore the way in which circularity, as an economic model, can seek to address main Forum themes like poverty, inequality and unemployment in the South African context, while prioritising nature and achieving economic resilience and social stability.

Streaming for Africa
The first streamed session, Trailblazers for a Circular Economy, will unpack case studies revealing how innovative African entrepreneurs are leading the circular transition, while positively impacting local communities.

This interactive panel discussion, which seeks to answer the questions “Which circular economy innovations are pointing the way towards Africa’s future?” and “What are the secrets of their success so far?” – will tie in with UN Sustainable Development Goals* 8 (decent work and economic growth) and 12 (responsible consumption and production).

Next up, the streamed session Circular Economy for Climate and Nature will reflect on the outcomes of global negotiations at COP27 to amplify the importance of a just transition to a circular economy – when striving for human development, climate and biodiversity goals.

The final streamed session, Catalysing Streamed Finance for Circularity in Africa, will investigate policy and financing gaps to find solutions to the barriers entrepreneurs and small business owners face when seeking much-needed start-up capital. The latter session, of course, ties in with SDG 17 (partnerships for the goals).

Focus on Mzansi
The exciting presentations, panel discussions and topic launches to be expected in the South Africa-focused sessions include identifying the challenges and enablers of a local circular economy transition; how to frame and narrate the circular economy to fit the backdrop of inequality, poverty and high unemployment; a look at circularity in action (with a venue tour of Hotel Verde Cape Town Airport, considered Africa’s greenest hotel); lessons learnt through regenerative food-system partnerships, and their potential application to other economic sectors; and how to connect impactful and scalable projects already underway to the financing they require.

Following the launch of two critical initiatives, Circular South Africa and Circular Economy Hotspots 2024, audience interaction will be welcomed to discuss queries, formulate next steps and reflect on the content covered.

Expected impact
While the circular economy is a relatively new paradigm for business, which aims to achieve global economic growth through highly sustainable business models, it could generate as much as US$4.5 trillion in economic output by 2030 – according to a study undertaken by Accenture.

To read more about the way in which circular business models can help decouple economic growth from natural resource consumption, while driving greater competition, please click here and here.

Get in contact with the WCEF2022 South Africa Studio: southafrica.studio@acen.africa

About the African Circular Economy Network
The ACEN a registered non-profit company with the vision of building a restorative African economy that generates well-being and prosperity, inclusive of all its people. It strives to do this through new forms of economic production and consumption, which are designed to maintain and regenerate Africa’s environmental resources. As new business models and technologies emerge, the opportunities for all economic sectors on the continent can be harnessed to improve livelihoods and reduce poverty. The ACEN aims to support this acceleration by connecting people, sharing knowledge, and disseminating opportunities throughout its extensive African and global network.

* The UN’s 17 SDGs provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.

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