On June 24, the annual exchange day organized by the Projection Network took place at the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) in Paris. Projection is an association of young professionals who work for access to essential services. This year, Projection took up the theme of the circular economy to address key issues encountered in projects in France and in developing countries.
The circular economy invites us to think about our production and consumption models in a more virtuous way: reconcilable with economic stakes (lower costs, creation of channels), favourable to theimprovement of social conditions (respect of norms, job creation) and of course respectful of the environment (waste limitation, awareness around the ecological and energy transition). These issues are found in most of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as “doing more and better with less” (SDG 12), avoiding food waste (SDG 2) or limiting deforestation (SDG 15).
The day was punctuated by round tables, video conferences, video projections and games to approach the theme of the circular economy in a playful way! A remote audience was able to attend the presentations via Facebook Live and react instantly. The day was meant to be participative so that participants could freely share their experiences in an interactive and informal setting. A collaborative approach, a systemic vision, a project anchored on a territory (management of resources in the vicinity and valorization of local know-how) are some of the key principles that the experts wanted to transmit through their feedback. DJOUMAN, through its Central Africa manager, Benjamin Ambela, shed light on the problems encountered by circular economy entrepreneurs, particularly in terms of structuring their projects and financing.
The event brought together a diverse panel of project leaders: public and private sector, young people, women, a multitude of nationalities. Waste was presented as a valuable resource through several initiatives: the fight against food waste (Altrimenti), household and organic waste (Gevalor, Co-Recycling), the reuse of wastewater (GreenWatech). The issue of financing was also addressed: on the one hand, institutional support is involved in the emergence of certain projects (AFD, ADEME), on the other hand, solutions such as micro-project agencies (La Guilde) and fundraising exist. The vision and challenges of the circular economy in Africa were particularly discussed during the day. The prevalence of the informal sector, specific to the economic and social functioning of the continent, questions the recognition and optimization of various activities that generate income for a significant part of the population.
The videos of Nader Fakhry projected during the day allowed us to learn about some of these Ivorian projects related to collection and recycling. The African entrepreneurial dynamism in the field of the circular economy was then noticed as a vector of a social, institutional and industrial valorization of practices: creation of peanut shell briquettes to replace coal, professionalization of the manual collection of faecal sludge (Vimapro).
The use of new technologies provides an innovative and effective framework for these issues. It is from the uses and social practices observed in their territories and to meet local needs that African digital actors have been able to develop adapted digital applications. Circular economy and technological innovation seemed to be seen as the engines at work for a sustainable and inclusive African development of tomorrow!
A publication recounting the main exchanges of the day will be published in October. You can find it on the Projection website.