Botswana Launches Platform for Circular Economy and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
12-14 July 2023: The Department of Waste Management and Pollution Control (DWMPC), Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) and Statistics Botswana, with the support of EU-funded project Africa RISE and in partnership with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), convened for an international conference at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel, Gaborone in Botswana, where best practice on waste management models and launch of the Extended Producer Platform (EPR) were discussed and experiences exchanged.
Developing countries, especially in Africa, have been struggling to sustainably manage waste. Rising populations, increased economic growth and the rural-urban divide have led to increased challenges in waste management. They suffer from a major lack of funding, resources and appropriate technologies. This has led to situations of open dumpsites, causing significant harm to public health and environment. At the macro level it is also contributing to climate change through greenhouse gas emission. Acknowledging these issues, various stakeholders, such as European Union (EU) Delegations, international, regional and national bodies and governments, private sector and not-for-profit organisations have put these topics high on their agenda.
Botswana, as a developing country, faces also similar challenges as countries in the Southern African region. When it comes to the management of e-waste, according to the latest estimates, the region generates 6.9 kilograms of e-waste per inhabitant per year. In Africa as a whole, 2.9 million tons of e-waste is generated every year. In addition, if these e-wastes were recycled, it is estimated that they would have generated raw material worth $3.2 billion USD. Only 13 countries have an e-waste policy, regulation or legislation in place and even then, in these countries there are limitations in the level of implementation and enforcement of these regulatory instruments.
Botswana is currently making efforts to improve its regulatory framework regarding e-waste since there is no specific regulatory instrument dealing with e-waste management. The Department of Waste Management and Pollution Control (DWMPC) produced an Integrated Waste Management Policy (September 2021). This policy is expected to facilitate the sound management of all types of waste streams in the country, including e-waste. Specific regulatory framework is required for the safe and proper management of e-waste. There is also a need for a management system that helps to transform the waste rather than dumping them in landfills.
One of the requests received by the European Union (EU) Africa RISE was from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Business Council to set up the SADC Circular Economy and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Platform. The EPR platform was initiated in October 2020 and is a partnership between SADC Business Council and two EU funded initiatives, the EU Africa RISE and the EU´s Switch to Green Facility.
The official launch of the platform took place during an event held in Botswana from the 12th to 14th of July 2023. During the launch event, cases were shown of how businesses can transform the way they do business, supported by an enabling environment and partnerships as well as an engaging mechanism. The event highlighted the platform’s mandate and four pillars, and how it will organise events and consultations on specific topics related to EPR and the circular economy. The platform is expected to become a facilitation mechanism for members of the public and private sector to share best practices, exchange ideas, design, pilot or scale up circularity models, and develop collective approaches to the circular economy and EPR market.
Addressing delegates during the event, Mr Clément Boutillier, Head of Cooperation Delegation of the EU to Botswana and SADC and Dr Lucky Mokgatlhe of Statistics Botswana, noted that the issues of electronic waste, and waste in general, are quickly becoming a global problem across the developing world and that any sustainable solutions will require collaboration between governments, partners, producers of electronic goods and the private sector.
There was senior level participation at the event. Participants from Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda, Mauritius, Angola and Mozambique shared their experiences, strategies and lessons learned. Other partners at this conference were the EU Delegation to Botswana and SADC, Statistics Botswana, Communications Regulatory Association of Southern Africa (CRASA), SADC Business Council, and Coca Cola Beverages Africa.
If you want to learn more about this event you can still consult the following resources:
- Presentations Day 1
- Presentations Day 2
The event page is still available (if you are registered) and you can access the information above as well as the speaker’s bios and information.
 E-waste is any electrical or electronic equipment that’s been discarded. This includes working and broken items that are thrown in the garbage or donated to a charity reseller like Goodwill. Often, if the item goes unsold in the store, it will be thrown away. E-waste is particularly dangerous due to toxic chemicals that naturally leach from the metals inside when buried, https://www.ewaste1.com/what-is-e-waste/