Institute assesses investment climate for circular bioeconomy
The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) has kick-started a study in Nigeria to identify key gaps affecting waste management and entrepreneurship development in the circular bioeconomy sector.
IWMI has developed a framework to assess the investment climate for circular bioeconomy, while assessment has been carried out in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Peru and Columbia.
To jump-start the study, a one-day workshop was held in Lagos, last week, with stakeholders on the theme, ‘Assessing the Investment Climate to promote Circular Bio-economy through Resource Recovery and Reuse (RRR) businesses in Nigeria,’ as part of efforts to promote resource recovery from different waste streams.
Among the stakeholders are representatives of RRR businesses involved in the production for sale of waste to energy, waste to nutrients, wastewater reuse, solid waste reuse in the energy, agro, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and water resources space.
Nigeria is a key signatory to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aims to ensure human and environmental security through the achievement of 17 goals by 2030. The SDGs are delineated to improve various socio-economic, environmental and partnership-related indicators, however local actions are required to attain people-oriented objectives of reducing poverty and ensuring sustainable economies and environment.
“The need for actions at the local level is more urgent because the goals and targets have to be achieved within the prevailing context of rising global demand for water, food and energy, a growing deficit, as well as competing uses as a result of urbanisation, climate change impacts, global recession and insecurities,” according to IWMI Representative, West Africa, Dr. Olufunke Cofie and Lead IWMI Consultant on Assessing the Investment Climate to promote Circular Bio-economy through Resource Recovery and Reuse businesses in Nigeria, Dr. Boluwaji Onabolu.
They disclosed, “Most of resource reuse and recovery businesses that aim to recover energy, water, and nutrients are unable to expand and sustain their initiatives. The Nigerian assessment is now being conducted in association with various stakeholders. The study findings will be used as a basis to design context-appropriate policies and strategies that can address the bottlenecks and increase RRR business attractiveness for investments.”
They said the strain to meet demand for food, water, and energy without compromising the environment and future human needs, reinforces the importance of RRR approaches as a potential pathway to sustainable economic development.
“This is because RRR not only allows the recovery of nutrients, water and energy from waste for other productive uses, but has the potential to improve a country’s macro-economic indicators, create jobs, access to energy and income generation. For instance, it has been estimated that the potential sanitation economy for Nigeria by 2023 is $26.1 billion, if the government provides the enabling environment and private sector the required investments,” they said.
Cofie and Onabolu said the workshop would provide first-hand information from businesses about their experiences in relation to access finance, infrastructure, support services, access to markets, as well as challenges and recommendations for enabling policies and regulation.
The findings would be analysed and triangulated with information from government agencies, investors, development banks, external support agencies and research institutions for evidence-based action and advocacy, which will contribute to development of the country brief.
Cofie explained, “Up until now, waste treatment has followed a linear pattern. We need to start thinking of how to recover resources from this waste instead of disposing of it. This is why we are here, as a research institute, to acquire knowledge, which is power and collaborate with various stakeholders to ensure that this knowledge is used for policy influencing and designs for reuse. This would in turn provide evidence-based knowledge for advocacy and donor funding.”
A participant and RRR business owner, Mr. Taiwo Adewole, noted that Lagos State generates about 40,000 tonnes of waste every day, a large percentage of which is plastic, “As RRR businesses, we see this as a big opportunity for our business.
“However, there is a need for the implementation of the existing policies in place at the national level and in Lagos state to provide an enabling environment for our business to thrive. We are happy for a forum like this that seeks to understand the pain points of the RRR businesses, which would in turn give feedback on policy implementation.”
According to another participant and RRR business owner, Mrs. Matilda Taiwo, “we appreciate IWMI for bringing this initiative because we have a lot of challenges as RRR businesses. We hope to benefit from this research, as there are a lot of opportunities for recycling businesses in the country. At the Matilda waste hub, for example, we are thinking beyond just recycling waste, to the production of products that are fit for export.”
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