Kenya: Safaricom to support the informal sector in e-waste management

mobile phone 3734545 640Safaricom has announced that it will work with partners and regulators to support the informal e-waste management sector

The telco aims to create a sustainable business model that will generate employment opportunities and link the sector to potential markets for its products. The programme will see telco working with regulators to encourage licencing of informal sector players to increase their capacity and enhance transparency in their waste management operations.

“As part of our integrated waste management programme we have collected over 1,200 tonnes of e-waste working in partnership with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Centre in Nairobi, Ministry of Environment, the Communications Authority and the National Environment Management Authority. We now want to encourage and promote wider participation from multiple stakeholders in the e-waste management process”, said Peter Ndegwa, CEO, Safaricom.

As part of the programme, 100 e-waste handlers and 15 electronic repairers will be trained on various best practices and will eventually be licenced by NEMA. The programme will also aim to improve health and safety practises among informal workers in the sector.

According to the Global E-Waste Monitor 2020 report, a record 53.6 million metric tonnes of electronic waste was generated worldwide in 2019, up 21% in just five years. The report predicts that global e-waste will reach 74 metric tonnes by 2030. This makes e-waste the fastest-growing domestic waste stream in the world, fuelled mainly by higher consumption rates of electrical and electronic equipment, short life cycles, and few repair options.

According to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Forum, only 17.4% of the 2019 e-waste was collected and recycled. This means that gold, silver, copper, platinum and other high-value, recoverable materials conservatively valued at US$57bn, a sum slightly more than half of Kenya’s GDP in 2019 – were mostly dumped or burned rather than collected for treatment and re-use.

The WEEE Forum developed the International E-Waste Day to help promote global e-waste recycling. Approximately 112 organisations from 48 countries around the world participated in last year’s International E-Waste Day by organising their activities to unite in addressing the challenge of e-waste.

Since 2018, Safaricom has partnered with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the East Africa Communications Organization (EACO) and other stakeholders to commemorate International E-Waste Day to raise awareness of the importance of safe disposal, handling and recycling of e-waste.

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