Six major universities from five African countries – Kenya, Egypt, Mauritius, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia – established recently the region’s first University Consortium on Waste Management this year. “The overall purpose of the Consortium is to build capacities of African countries to better manage solid waste, particularly in cities,” explained Professor Mungai, a member of the Consortium. The Consortium will focus on training countries on various aspects of solid waste management, including the understanding of solid waste generation patterns in African societies. I really believe that initiatives like this can play a major role in promoting bottom-up and social innovations related to waste management and recycling.
Waste Management in Africa is moving into an alarming phase with several serious health problems already reported. By 2050, a whopping 1.33 billion people will inhabit African cities – almost 900 million more than today. Africa’s pace of urbanization is the fastest in the world, which means that, in 20 years, half of the continent’s population will be city dwellers. And with great numbers of people comes an enormous amount of trash. Lower income cities in Africa and Asia are expected to double their municipal solid waste generation within the next 15 to 20 years, placing a major strain on the continent’s poor infrastructure.
You can read a recent interview of Professor David Mungai about the role of the consortium in strengthening the ability of African countries to create appropriate solutions for solid waste management here.