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Regulation, collaboration needed to fast-track global circular economy

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European Green Deal, Covid-19 and new technology change environmental landscape

Cross sector collaboration and enabling regulatory frameworks, as well as technology innovation, can fast track the achievement of circular economy goals. This is according to industry experts who were participating in Messe München’s first IFAT Impact virtual industry forum streamed from Germany last week.

The IFAT Impact forum, which also represents IFAT Africa, the continent’s leading exhibition for water, sewage, refuse and recycling assessed the European Green Deal, the impact of Covid-19 on environmental initiatives, and the way forward for waste management and recycling.

Highlighting the long-term importance of enabling a circular economy, William Neale, European Commission Circular Economy Advisor, said: “The circular economy is not just about waste, it is also about retaining value in the economy. And that is where the real potential is – in creating jobs.” He cited figures estimating that for 10,000 tonnes of waste products and materials, one job would be created if it was incinerated, six jobs would be created if it was landfilled, 36 jobs would be created if it was recycled and up to 800 jobs could be created if it was refurbished and reused.

The new European Parliament Green Deal, a roadmap for Europe becoming a climate-neutral continent by 2050, as well as a strategy to finance the Green Deal by attracting at least €1 trillion worth of public and private investment over the next decade, should be central to post-Covid economic recovery strategies, panellists said.

Pandemic impacts circular economy efforts

The Covid-19 pandemic was likely to impact both funding and progress on circular economy efforts, speakers said.

However, webinar attendees felt the impact would not necessarily be a negative one in the longer term: an online poll on what impact the corona crisis would have on demand for environmental technologies in the next five years found that 40% expected a positive effect and 38% felt the likely impacts were not clear yet.

Patrick Hasenkamp, Vice-President of the German Association of Local Utilities and President of Municipal Waste Europe, noted that the crisis had set the scene for broader collaboration:  “The current corona crisis has shown that we can work together in a co-ordinated manner. We must preserve this common team spirit and work hand in hand to achieve sustainability goals.”

Hasenkamp added that while no reliable statistics were available yet, the impression at European waste treatment and incineration plants was that a lot more waste was being generated during the pandemic. “More packaging material and biological waste is reported to be coming in,” he said. He attributed this to new hygiene regulations resulting in more food packaging, and to consumers purchasing convenience and takeaway meals instead of eating at restaurants.   

Enabling regulatory environment needed

Panellists said the regulatory environment could incentivise the use of recycled and recyclable materials and help enviro-tech innovators secure funding.

“Smart regulation and well-functioning municipal administrations are essential for a functioning circular economy. Investments in innovations, such as those we see at IFAT, are often not possible without new legislation,” said Dr. Christoph Epping, Head of Directorate WRII ‘Resource Conservation, Circular Economy’ at the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

“Politics must ensure crisp but attractive legislation, regulation and guidance. One major pillar of this change will be the financial and political support of breakthrough green innovation to disrupt markets with sustainable and green business models,” added Dr Eng. Sebastian Porkert, CEO of enviro-tech startup Ecofario.

Peter Kurth, President BDE (Federation of the German Waste, Water and Raw Materials Management Industry) and President FEAD (European Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services) emphasized that regulators had a role to play in incentivising change in product manufacturing and helping drive circular economies. He said for example, public procurement could set an example by setting minimum levels of recyclates in products purchased.

He said this year alone, over 25,000 wind turbines would be sent to the waste market: “That is 125,000 tonnes of plastic which can’t be recycled and is hard to treat in other ways. We need legal frameworks for responsible manufacturing. We also have to enforce an end to the landfilling of untreated waste,” he said.

Innovation to drive better reduce, reuse, recycling programmes

The panellists highlighted the potential of innovative new technologies to help overcome current challenges in recycling.

Open data, access to data and the use of technologies such as Blockchain presented new opportunities to track products and share information about those products, said William Neale. “The real power in this is we now have an opportunity to attach data to a physical product, create digital product passports, and use technologies such as AI to improve sorting and recycling,” he said.

Lynette Chung, head of global sustainability at Covestro AG, agreed that digital innovation could support circular economy efforts. She noted that manufacturers faced significant challenges in moving toward a circular economy: not only did they have to test and source new materials, they also had to ensure the resulting products were fit for purpose and safe for consumers. “We have to work with the entire value chain, assess raw materials and understand what recycled products work in the market.  Industry needs to be given a chance to look at how to implement radical change across materials, recycling technologies and testing in order to address the issue we created some time ago.” She said digitisation and quantum computing could help industry achieve this change.

Also Read: Joan Nwosu- helping entrepreneurs and corporate professionals create meaningful lives

“Like our colleagues in Europe, Messe Muenchen South Africa also believes innovation and collaboration will be key to driving progress in a circular economy in Africa,” said Suzette Scheepers, CEO of Messe Muenchen South Africa. “Therefore, IFAT Africa 2021 will offer expanded opportunities for networking and collaboration, a showcase of the latest international innovations and technologies, and include high-level forums for knowledge sharing to further circular economy goals.”

IFAT Africa, to be staged at Gallagher Convention Centre for July 13 – 15, 2021, will bring together thousands of African stakeholders from across these overlapping sectors to discuss challenges, solutions and business opportunities in the crucial water, sewage, refuse and recycling industries.

The exhibition will also be strengthened with the addition of a Renewable Energy Zone and track sessions covering issues such as new trends in renewable energies, regulations and licensing for IPPs, energy storage, integrating renewables into existing power systems and new project opportunities in Southern Africa.

IFAT Africa will be co-located with food & drink technology Africa and analytica Lab Africa to enable knowledge sharing and networking across the broader value chain.

Issued by ITP Communications

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World Food Day: Jumia Launches the Africa Food Index 2020

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Ahead of World Food Day on 16th October, Jumia has published its 1st Africa Food Index showing the impact of COVID-19 on food trends in Africa. Online food delivery is changing habits in unexpected ways for businesses and consumers due to the pandemic. The growing popularity of fast food, coupled with the growing trends for convenience and value for money, have opened up opportunities for the food market in Africa. 

According to the Africa Development Bank, the continent’s US$ 313 billion food and beverage market is projected to reach US$ 1 trillion by 2030. This projection offers the prospect of increased jobs, greater prosperity, reduced hunger and improved opportunities for African farmers and entrepreneurs to participate in the global economy. 

Over the last three years, Africa’s growing online audience has seen an increase in international brands setting up shop to tap into the growing middle-income segment. Direct investment from players such as KFC, McDonalds, Burger King have been achieved. Online food delivery players such as Jumia have also played a key role in shaping supply chains and opening up the markets to new entrants. Local producers and restaurants have embraced this evolution and reached new consumers as well as grown their businesses in spite of these challenging times.

“This pandemic crisis has shown the world that online food delivery is not just a commodity, but a necessity. The food business adapted quickly to the new normal, by availing contactless and cashless deliveries » said Shreenal Ruparelia Chief Commercial Officer, Jumia Food. « We also started to provide support to local food vendors to keep their businesses running during this difficult time.” With our food partners, we will continue to deploy capabilities across the food value chain to ensure consumers buy food online safely and at the right price, in line with the theme of this year’s World Food Day celebration of Grow, Nourish, Sustain Together” added Shreenal.

The report highlighted two major drivers of the growth observed in 2020: demography and the Covid19 lockdowns. With a growing population averaging 18 years old, a new generation of African middle class consumers are spending more money online on food and grocery services, while the lockdowns induced by the Covid19 pandemic also contributed to this evolution in habits.

Overall, grocery retailing continues to expand, as consumers seek comfort and convenience when shopping for food. The report shows that while Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) are popular, Lagos and Nairobi lead as the largest cities with the volume of online food orders. 

Also Read Derbora Nyarkoah: A Ghanian Agripreneur Championing Orange Fleshed Sweet Potatoes

International institutions like the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), International Quick Service Restaurants such as KFC and local brands like Tunisian Al Jazeera Olive Oils have contributed to the Africa Food Index, based on Jumia data and external data from different institutions.

Please find the report here

Source: Jumia Food

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Egyptian FinTech Startup NowPay Scores $2.1 million Seed Investment

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NowPay Team (Image Source: NowPay)

Employee Empowerment To Fund Top Priority Financial Goals Augments Increased Productivity, Engagement and Loyalty

MENA: Cairo-based FinTech startup NowPay, a financial-wellness platform for employees in emerging markets, has announced today, 11 October 2020 that the company has raised US$ 2.1 million in seed investment. The new fund will be deployed to deepen the capabilities of the platform, expand its team and establish its footprint in the MENA region and beyond.

The round was led by Foundation Ventures and Endure Capital along with investors from the U.S., UAE, China, and Egypt. The cluster of investors include: BECO Capital, 500 Startups, Plug and Play, 4dx Ventures, MSA Capital, EFG-EV Fintech and Ebtikar. Prominent Angel investors such as Quirky Ventures, Gehan Fathi, and Rolaco also participated in the round.

“During the peak of COVID-19 lockdowns, we are proud to have well-known and eminent investors back us, signaling trust in our business concept and our team. Saving, spending, budgeting and borrowing, are our four pillars of financial wellness. Financial stress plays a major role as a top distraction for employees.

NowPay bridges that gap and provides several benefits for employers that choose to proactively address this area of employee wellness. Particularly in the recent months NowPay helped empower both the employees and employers alike. We want to improve every financial aspect for employees and make financial inclusion a reality,” said Mostafa Ashour, Cofounder and CEO of NowPay who previously led the innovation teams at Microsoft Research.

Founded in 2019, NowPay has a very enthusiastic and well-experienced team. Led by Mostafa Ashour, the team includes co-founder Ahmed Sabry, who worked for Amazon Lending, Gehan Fathi, previously worked as managing director at EFG, and Mahmoud ElHosseiny who managed Egypt sales for Fortune 500 Stanley-Black & Decker.

Also Read: How This EdTech CEO is Helping Africans Access Premium Tech Skills for the Future of Work

“There is an asymmetry between expenses and income, which puts a lot of stress on employee’s morale, and hampers productivity. We are thrilled to join NowPay’s incredible team on this journey of empowering employees with the happiness and wellness that financial stability provides,” said Ziyad Hamdy, Managing Partner at Foundation Ventures.

“Not every day you have both clear product market fit and founders market fit. This is the case in NowPay. Just attend any business meeting with the team and you will know it immediately!”, said Tarek Fahim, Managing Partner at Endure Capital.

“Within a very short period we are delighted to have managed salaries in excess of US$100 million with a 60% month-over-month growth rate. We have integrated our platorm with leading Egyptian and multinational names such as SODIC, Wadi Degla, Domty and AXA to name a few, a testament of our ability to help the financial wellness of employees for our clients. We have a very strong pipeline with many more big names waiting to onboard our platform and we look forward to forge ahead as pioneers in this space,” added Mr. Ashour.

Source: NowPay

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SAVCA Appoints Natalie Kolbe And Sthembile NKabinde As Board Members

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Sthembile Nkabinde and Natalie Kolbe

The Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA) – the industry body for private equity and venture capital in Southern Africa –welcomes two new directors to its board, following the virtual SAVCA Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on 7 October 2020.

SAVCA CEO, Tanya van Lill says that the new appointees – Natalie Kolbe, Partner at Actis and Sthembile Nkabinde, Founder and CEO of Khulasande Capital – are both leading industry professionals who have been elected by their peers to continue driving the association’s strategic objectives.

Natalie Kolbe, Partner at Actis
Sthembile Nkabinde, Founder and CEO of Khulasande Capital

“Natalie and Sthembile each bring with them a unique skill set that will complement those of our existing board members, while bringing new perspectives and ideas to the table. Notably, the new board composition of seven women and six men are representative of the advances being made by the broader industry within the area of transformation and diversity.”

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As noted by the recent SAVCA 2020 Private Equity Industry Survey, South African private equity exhibited a considerable increase in investment activity in 2019, with the private equity industry having R184.4 billion in funds under management (FUM) at 31 December 2019, up from R171 billion in 2018, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.2% since 1999 when the survey first began.

Similarly, the SAVCA 2020 Venture Capital Industry Survey reported robust industry growth in 2019, with venture capital investment showing the highest activity recorded to date, both by value and by number of deals. A total of 38 exits were also reported for 2019 – more than double the previous record for annual exit activity, and just over triple the nine exits reported in 2018.

“This industry growth bodes well for the future economic growth of the region, especially considering the long-term effect that COVID-19 is having on economic activity,” says van Lill, who notes the important role that the industry plays in Southern Africa’s broader economic environment. “A thriving private equity and venture capital industry is crucial for Southern Africa to accelerate its economic recovery.”

Returning to the outcomes of the recent AGM, van Lill says that the SAVCA board is sadly bidding farewell to three distinguished directors: Lungile Mdluli, who served as Treasurer and Chairperson of the Fiscal Committee from 2017 and was asked to stay on for another year to hand over the role of Treasurer; Vusi Thembekwayo, who joined the SAVCA Board in 2017 and served on the Venture Capital Committee; and Craig Dreyer, who has served SAVCA since its inception in 1998 and notably chaired the association over the past three years.

“Through their varied and distinguished roles, Lungile, Vusi and Craig contributed significantly to the success of our organisation by dedicating an invaluable amount of time and expertise to the board activities. While Craig’s longstanding commitment to the industry and relentless contribution as Chairperson and member of the Regulatory Committee will be missed, we are fortunate for the legacy he leaves behind and want to thank all three members for the roles they’ve played in shaping the future of the industry,” van Lill concludes.

Source: SAVCA

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