Towards a Circular Economy for African Islands: an Analysis of Existing Baselines and Strategies

In recent years, the concept of circular economy has gained increasing attention from both businesses and governments. The African continent has started to adopt circular economy–related policies at national or regional levels, but it is not yet mainstream. Literature on circular economy has mainly focused on developed countries in the global north with limited attention given to the potential of circular economy for developing countries especially in the context of African islands. In this paper, we fill this gap by providing existing baselines regarding CE for 9 African islands and present their existing strategies that could foster the development of a circular economy. Adopting the Ellen MacArthur Foundation diagram and the ReX framework, we use different components of the combined frameworks to situate the various initiatives. We show that African islands have led an array of initiatives especially in waste management and also in regenerating natural resources. However, various challenges remain, such as the lack of national umbrella frameworks that would ensure circularity across actions. Countries with more favourable socio-economic and political contexts such as Reunion Island or Mauritius implement policies relating to a circular economy. However, these countries and others, such as Maldives or Seychelles, also have a high level of material consumption that requires changes from production to consumption stages. Countries with challenging contexts, such as Madagascar, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, Comoros and to a lesser extent Cabo Verde, have less dedicated policies but various dispersed activities such as using renewable energy that could contribute to circularity. Extraction of natural resources in these countries remains an important source of growth that requires a systemic change towards circularity. Embracing a circular economy presents various opportunities to African islands especially considering the blue economy agendas adopted in these islands.

Associated spaces

Maldives , Mauritius , Reunion

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