The Extended Producer Responsibility /Circular Economy Platform: transforming through circular economy

 The EPR/CE platform is a joint initiative by EU Africa RISE, Switch to Green and SADC Business Council that brings together stakeholders active in circular economy in the SADC region and beyond

Why this project?

Developing countries especially in Africa have been struggling to sustainably manage their waste. Rising populations, economic growth and the rural-urban drift have led to an increased generation of waste that has not been met with an equivalent sustainable waste management system that improves social welfare and living standards. A shortage of finance, technical capacity and technologies are leading to a situation of open and illegal dumpsites in most of the cities and are causing on a micro level significant harm to public health and on a macro, damaging the environment and contributing to climate change through emissions of greenhouse gases.


Acknowledging these issues, various stakeholders such as European Delegations, regional and national government institutions, companies and not for profit organizations have put these topics high on their agenda. Several of these stakeholders reached out to EU Africa RISE with requests to design, pilot and/or scale-up waste management models, undertake studies to better understand what role the private sector should play including within an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) framework, analyse benefits and challenges of self-regulation in waste management, improve waste management policies, draw key lessons, and identify the most effective solutions to waste management in African contexts.


One of the requests was from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Business Council, as they seek to set up a SADC EPR and Circular Economy (CE) Platform. The initiative, which started in October 2022, is a partnership between SADC Business Council and two EU funded initiatives: Africa RISE and Switch to Green Facility. The EPR/CE platform will become a facilitation mechanism for members of public and private sectors to share best practices, exchange ideas, design, pilot and scale-up circularity models, and develop collective approaches to EPR and the CE market.

What have we achieved?

Zone de texte: When we first started working on the concept for the platform, we knew people wanted to learn about EPR, but at the event in Zambia, the knowledge sharing plea by participants was overwhelming.
Emmanuel Barreto
Africa RISE Lead expert, Circular Economy and EPR Platform
A discussion paper was prepared in January 2023, aimed to spark the conversation on the transition to CE in the SADC region by introducing EPR concept. The paper provided an overview of the current situation with EPR in the region and highlighted related challenges and opportunities related to EPR and CE but also what role such a CE EPR platform can play in that. The discussion paper was presented at a conference organised by the SADC Business Council, Coca Cola and Africa RISE: "Implementation of Circular Economy regulations in the SADC region". The event held in Lusaka, Zambia on the 22nd and 23rd of February 2023, hosted speakers from within the region who shared experiences and brought global experts contributing with key knowledge. Discussions on topics related to waste management, CE and EPR were extensive and the need for the platform was confirmed during the conference. Most importantly, interest from participants representing different sectors was strong and committed to be part and play active roles in such a platform.

The Lusaka event led to the design and development of a business case for the platform and its official launch took place during the “Transform through Circular Economy and EPR event, held in Botswana between 12-14 July. A preliminary list of activities for the platform was proposed in the business case and the Botswana event structured and shaped its first operational year with a range of actions from Solid Waste Management & Trading to the establishment of an E-Waste Section with a focus on waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). Each action plays a critical role in propelling the region towards an economy more circular, whilst addressing current waste management challenges.

What is next?

The SADC Business Council, with support from Coca Cola, is currently working on the Platform website, which should be operational in September 2023. In parallel, detailed concepts of pilot projects for its first 12 months are being prepared. These are expected to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2023. 

Watch this space for more news on the CE and EPR Platform.