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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

Hospitality & Tourism

Radisson Individuals makes its African debut with hotel signing in Ghana, to open its doors in October 2021

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Image Source: Radisson Hotel Group

Radisson Hotel Group is proud to announce its first Radisson Individuals property in Africa, with the signing of Earl Heights Suites Hotel, a member of Radisson Individuals, Accra, Ghana. Due to open by the end of 2021, this new addition places the Group firmly on track to achieving its objective of reaching 150 hotels in operation and under development by 2025.

Located in Dzorwulu, the property is currently undergoing a full renovation and is on schedule to open within this year. Just 5km from Kotoka International Airport (KIA), the main access point by air for domestic and international visitors, the serviced apartment property is conveniently located near shopping malls, restaurants, as well as the University of Ghana, situated north of the district. Also within reach, is the tranquil Legon Botanical Gardens, with its canopy walk, rope courses, canoeing and rich birdlife.

Due to its strategic geographical location, ease of access, and aviation facilities and connections, Accra has become a conference and aviation hub for West Africa. It is also dominated by local and international business activities, making the city one of the most attractive African cities to do business.

The 58-serviced apartments property will comprise of modern studios as well as spacious and elegant one- and two-bedroom suites. Creating a true destination for its guests, the property will offer culinary options in the restaurant, The Society, which will include outdoor seating as well as in the hotel bar. The property will also feature a spa, gym, pool, convenience store, and business centre, providing the perfect base for both business and leisure.

Radisson Individuals is a conversion brand that offers independent hotels and local, regional chains the opportunity to be part of the global Radisson Hotel Group platform, benefit from the Group’s international awareness and experience, with the freedom to maintain their own uniqueness and identity.  Radisson Hotel Group plans to more than double its serviced apartments portfolio within the next 5 years across EMEA. Today, serviced apartments represent around 10% of the Group’s EMEA portfolio with 45 properties and more than 5,400 units in operation and under development.

Erwan Garnier, Senior Director, Development, Africa, Radisson Hotel Group, said: “We have identified Ghana as a key focus country in our five-year development plan and, Accra as a focus and primary city. The signing of the property, which compliments the Radisson Hotel & Apartments Accra announced last year and scheduled to open in 2023, is also aligned with our current conversion-focused growth strategy, which will remain a priority, especially post-pandemic. We are therefore proud the Radisson Individuals African debut, will be on Ghanaian soil, carving the path for the new brand to continue its expansion across the continent. In proud partnership with Earlbeam Group of Companies, we are thrilled to be contributing to the country’s tourism industry, a key pillar of the national economy.”

Alfred Danso Darkwah, CEO of the hotel’s owning company, Earlbeam Group of Companies, said: “The Earl Heights Suites Hotel partnership is an exciting opportunity – it brings together the union of Radisson Hotel Group and The Earlbeam Group Of Companies, two well-seasoned brands from the hospitality and real estate sector respectively. This will be the first branded apart hotel in Ghana, completely unique, providing each guest a boutique home-away-from home experience. In addition, it delivers partner confidence, guarantee of service standards, and assured safety and security, leaving a positive mark on Ghana’s hospitality sector. We believe this Radisson Individuals hotel will inject much-needed life within the local hospitality industry and pave the way for upcoming projects between Radisson Hotel Group and The Earlbeam Group of Companies.”

Image Source: Radisson Hotel Group

Herewith the link to the renders of the hotel, which is on track to open its doors in October this year Radisson Individuals

Radisson Hotel Group operates to high standards of performance and advocates socially and environmentally sustainable business practices. More than ever, Radisson Hotel Group’s highest priorities remain the health and safety of its guests and employees. The Group partnered with SGS, the world’s leading inspection and certification company, to implement the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol, which ensures the highest hygiene standards and strengthens the Group’s existing rigorous sanitation guidelines. In the run-up to the opening of Earl Heights Suites Hotel, a member of Radisson Individuals the hotel will implement the Radisson Hotel Group brand standards including the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol related to safety and security.

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Entertainment

TuneCore Launches Operations in Africa, Appoints Two Female Regional Executives

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TuneCore Jade Leaf and Chioma Onuchukwu

TuneCore, the leading digital music distribution and publishing administration company for independent artists, has launched operations in Africa. Jade Leaf has been hired as Head of TuneCore for Southern Africa and will share responsibility for key countries in East Africa with Chioma Onuchukwu, who has been hired as Head of TuneCore for West Africa. Both Leaf and Onuchukwu will report to Faryal Khan-Thompson, Vice President, International, TuneCore.

Onuchukwu will be based in Nigeria and oversee countries in West Africa including Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and The Gambia. She will also look after Tanzania and Ethiopia in East Africa.  Leaf’s territory encompasses Southern Africa, including South Africa, where she will be based, as well as Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Lesotho. Leaf will also manage TuneCore operations in East African countries Kenya and Uganda.

Said Onuchukwu, “I am elated to be joining a renowned, independent music distribution powerhouse, especially in an incredible era for music creators in Africa at a time when we are gaining global recognition and increasing momentum. I look forward to collaborating with and supporting local artists.”

Before joining TuneCore, Onuchukwu was Marketing Manager at uduX Music, a music streaming platform in Nigeria. There she worked directly with popular African artists such as Davido, Yemi Alade, Patoranking, Kizz Daniel and more.

Commented Leaf, “I am incredibly excited to join the team in a time where the global conversation is around independence and ownership. TuneCore opens up a world of potential for independent artists at every level of their careers. Africa is home to a diverse range of artists who are seeking a reliable distribution service who understands their local needs and can ultimately give them the opportunity to turn their art into commercial success.”

Previously, Leaf worked at Africa’s largest Pay TV operator, Multichoice as the Marketing Manager for Youth & Music Channels, where she led brand re-imaging and marketing efforts for Music TV giant Channel O. Before that, she worked at Sony Music Entertainment Africa, focusing on African artists and content, as well as numerous marketing campaigns & projects for local and international artists.

There has been a meteoric rise in the uptake of streaming services in Africa, the growth has been attributed to several factors such as an increase in internet penetration via smartphones, the entrance of international and local streaming platforms in key territories and its youth population – More than 60% of African’s are under the age of 25.

In 2020, TuneCore saw an increase in music releases globally, with many African artists opting to use the DIY Distributor – DJ Spinall and Small Doctor in Nigeria, Spoegwolf in South Africa, Mpho Sebina in Botswana and Fena Gitu in Kenya to name a few.

Stated Khan-Thompson, “Africa is an extremely exciting music market with a lot of potential for growth. By hiring Jade and Chioma to lead our efforts, TuneCore is well positioned to maximize opportunities for independent artists across the continent. Both Chioma and Jade bring a wealth of experience and genuine interest in helping artists make their dreams come true. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have two incredible women representing the TuneCore brand in the continent”

TuneCore

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IFC Invest in Liquid Telecom Bond to Support Broadband Connectivity in Africa

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IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, invested in Thursday’s bond issued by a subsidiary of Liquid Telecommunications Holdings Ltd., which will allow the telecoms and technology solutions company to expand access to broadband Internet and digital and cloud services across Africa, further facilitating the growth of the continent’s digital economy.

Proceeds from the bond issued by Liquid Telecommunications Financing PLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liquid Telecommunications Holdings Ltd, will enable the company to refinance existing debt and free up funds to expand its digital infrastructure network across Africa, including in markets with low broadband penetration.

By developing digital infrastructure, Liquid Telecommunications, Africa’s largest independent fiber, data center and cloud technology provider, aims to increase digital connectivity and inclusion in Africa and support the region’s growing digital ecosystem.

IFC played an anchor role and subscribed to 16 percent of the bond, equivalent to $100 million, which was listed on Euronext Dublin, Ireland’s main stock exchange, on February 25, 2021. The issuance raised $620 million.

Internet access in Africa relies largely on mobile networks, many of which are enabled by wholesale connectivity providers such as Liquid Telecommunications. Broadband penetration is low across the continent, with a mobile broadband penetration rate of 34 percent and fixed broadband penetration of less than five percent in most countries across sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa.

“We are delighted that IFC has taken a significant anchor position in our new bond. In the countries in which we operate there are great opportunities to address under developed telecommunications and Internet access, as well as to accelerate the adoption of digital and Cloud-based services. Our refinance enables us to continue to invest in the African digital eco-system including driving penetration of digital and Cloud-based services to businesses who may not previously have had the resources to benefit from them, helping to bridge the connectivity divide, which is more crucial than ever in our current circumstances,” said Nic Rudnick, Liquid Telecom Group Chief Executive Officer.

“Our best chance at ensuring much-needed internet access for everyone in Africa, from large corporates and small businesses to individuals, is to invest in digital infrastructure. Our investment in the Liquid Telecom bond will help the company free up capital to further expand broadband access across Africa, laying a solid foundation for a faster, more resilient recovery,” said Stephanie von Friedeburg, Interim Managing Director and Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer of IFC.

To support Africa’s digital economy, which could be worth $180 billion by 2025, IFC provides financing to mobile network operators, independent tower operators, data centers and broadband connectivity providers. IFC also provides capital to help entrepreneurs and innovative businesses grow and works with financial institutions and telecommunications companies to speed the adoption of digital payments and lending to expand financial inclusion.

Source IFC

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