ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network working with more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development.


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ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network working with more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development.

ICLEI Regional Secretariats and country offices

Urban Resources and Circular Development Roundtable in Ghana

What we did

African cities are amongst the fastest growing on the planet. If they follow “business as usual” approaches to urban development, it is estimated that their material consumption will increase by 790% between 2010 and 2050 (IRP, 2018). This will make Africa the region with the highest anticipated growth in resource demand globally. The implications of this upsurge in consumption are staggering on a continent already facing colossal waste and resource related challenges. Innovative low-cost solutions will be required to ensure that waste and resource management support circular development, allowing for waste streams to be reduced, re-used and recycled within cities to drastically decrease demand for new resources, improve access to resources, protect biodiversity and limit future greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. Well-designed, circular development projects can also change how resources are allocated and accessed. For example waste collection services can become more affordable to end-users, create decent income-earning opportunities, and stimulate local economies. ICLEI Africa’s work with local governments on the continent has revealed that waste management is a major concern for most cities. African cultures are traditionally very resource conscious, but this is changing as urbanization accelerates and “throw-away” culture establishes a foothold on African society. Cities are hungry for ideas as to how they can manage their limited resources more effectively, and derive value from waste streams in order to create much needed jobs. Many African cities are implementing both high tech and low tech activities that contribute toward more circular economies, but there is potential to do more by learning from each other.

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How we tracked

Number of participants who attended the Accra workshop Emerging partnerships & opportunities

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What we achieved

ICLEI convened a circular economy workshop to bring stakeholders and experts from African cities together. Through a combination of short presentations and interactive sessions, the workshop (1) built shared understanding of the concepts of circular development, resource nexus and urban metabolism, as well as their application in urban African contexts; (2) familiarised participants with useful tools and portals for analysing city resource performance; (3) showed evidence of these principles in action in Accra; (4) identified city needs related to urban resource management, and (5) collectively charted a way forward for building communities of practice around sustainable urban resource management in African cities.

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African Circular Economy Network,

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