Remarks​ ​by​ ​Minister​ ​Vincent​ ​Biruta at the Launch​ ​of​ ​the​ ​African​ ​Circular​ ​Economy​ ​Alliance

Remarks by Minister Vincent Biruta

Launch of the African Circular Economy Alliance
UN Climate Change Conference | Bonn, Germany
16 November 2017

Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, all protocols observed.

I wish to thank my fellow panelists for being here today to launch the African Circular Economy Alliance. For more than a year, we have been working informally to advance the Circular Economy across the continent.

Today, we formalise the strong partnerships that already exists, between the countries and institutions represented today, as well as many more partners across Africa and around the world. I am confident that the Alliance will take our individual and collective efforts to even greater heights.

To begin, I would like to share some of Rwanda’s experience in promoting the Circular Economy. While we still have a long way to go, the progress is promising and we believe we have created an environment conducive to the principles of the Circular Economy.

Rwanda is investing in green and circular growth through our national Green Fund, the Green Secondary Cities programme and our Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy.

Almost a decade again, we introduced a law banning polythene bags. While there was resistance initially, the experience has taught us that circular themed laws and policies not only have a positive impact on the environment but also create new opportunities.

This commitment to green growth has also attracted private investment in Rwanda, created jobs, and boosted local innovation. An example of this is STRAWTEC, a company that recycles agricultural waste into high-tech, low cost and carbon neutral construction materials.

Another example is the Rwanda E-Waste Recycling Facility, which we will officially open next month.

The Rwanda Green Fund invested close to 1.5 million dollars to develop the e-waste recycling facility, which has the capacity to employ more than 1,000 people - making it the second state-of-art e-waste dismantling and recycling facility in Africa.

After one year of operation, 120 tonnes of e-waste have been collected and treated at the facility, 400 computers have been refurbished for use by our schools and 279 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions have been mitigated.

These are just a few examples of the opportunities that lie in the Circular Economy and Rwanda is committed to this new and smarter way of doing business.

As we launch the Alliance, we need to turn our ideas into action. Rwanda is excited to work with other governments, businesses and organisations across the world to fast track the circular economy agenda in Africa.

I invite other nations across the continent join with us through the African Circular Economy Alliance and contribute expertise and experience.

Rwanda is pleased to be working with the World Economic Forum and its partners, and we have signed a letter of intent with the Forum to collaborate on building the circular economy in the country.

We look forward to working with all countries, organisations and companies here today to push forward this crucial agenda. The health and wealth of future generations depend on it.

Thank you for your kind attention.