EIT Climate-KIC and GrowthAfrica team up to accelerate circular economy solutions in Nairobi
The Netherlands, 1 October 2023 – EIT Climate-KIC will work with GrowthAfrica, a leading African accelerator, entrepreneur- and ecosystem support organisation, to address the pressing challenges of waste management and urban sustainability in the rapidly growing city of Nairobi, Kenya.
Urbanisation and overconsumption trends in major cities have placed enormous strain on waste management systems, resulting in a surge in waste accumulation and only a fraction of it being recycled or transformed into beneficial forms.
According to the World Bank (2020), only 45 per cent of waste in Nairobi is recycled, reused, or transformed into forms with economic or ecological benefits—far below the 80 per cent target set by the Kenyan National Environment Management Authority. At the same time, Nairobi is known for being a regional hub for business and innovation in East Africa, making it a thriving ecosystem to work on circularity and waste management.
Applying Circular Economy principles can effectively address challenges in waste prevention and management.
Implementing a self-sustaining innovation cluster that benefits marginalised groups
The partnership will implement EIT Climate-KIC’s self-sustaining “Innovation Cluster” approach to foster collaboration and drive the development of innovative solutions and entrepreneurship. Innovation Clusters serve as collaborative platforms that unite diverse stakeholders, including businesses, universities, citizens, investors, governmental agencies and NGOs.
The project puts emphasis on the role of the informal sector and marginalised groups, by supporting access to essential services and job opportunities. It is set to unfold in three phases over a three-year period from now until June 2025.
In the first step, a baseline study will be carried out to align key stakeholders who will take part in the project’s implementation and to outline existing interdependencies and opportunities for collaboration. In the second stage, the project will build capacities for entrepreneurship and circular economy among entrepreneurship support organisations, representatives and entrepreneurs. This will be realised through the implementation of early- and late-stage ideation and entrepreneurship activities to accelerate the best waste prevention solutions and ensure they are aligned with the needs of the demand. Lastly, the partners will enable stakeholders, local government, businesses, and investors to connect with the lessons of innovators, integrate them in the iterative development of the ecosystem and identify opportunities for scaling up innovations [regulatory, procurement, others] and thereby set the basis for a permanent cluster around circular economy.
The project, funded by the IKEA Foundation, will work with a variety of stakeholders to create an environment that accelerates waste management and prevention solutions through circular economies.
EIT Climate-KIC CEO Kirsten Dunlop said: “Innovation Clusters are about building capability, learning and trust, exploring how to meet the needs of local communities, governments, and organisations through innovation that is meaningful in local contexts. Through a shared commitment and collaboration, we are not just innovating; we are actively shaping more sustainable, resilient, and prosperous communities, nurturing entrepreneurship to spark new solutions, drive equitable economic growth and create meaningful job opportunities.”
Partner at GrowthAfrica, Ian Lorenzen said: “I’m very excited about the partnership and collaboration which brings together the best of different worlds and areas of expertise to support entrepreneurs delivering impactful local business solutions to address Nairobi’s waste challenges.”
Patrick Obonyo, Programme Manager at IKEA Foundation said: “Far too little waste is recycled, reused or transformed into beneficial forms. The IKEA Foundation believes in the power of innovation to drive positive change. We’re excited to see how this partnership can promote waste management solutions and develop healthy circular economies that are good for people and the planet.”
By facilitating collaboration and innovation, EIT Climate-KIC, the IKEA Foundation and GrowthAfrica are committed to making a significant impact on waste management and sustainability in Nairobi.
EIT Climate-KICEIT Climate-KIC is Europe’s leading climate innovation agency and community, using a systems approach to shape innovation to support cities, regions, countries and industries meet their climate ambitions. Together with partners across the globe, EIT Climate-KIC acts to bridge the gap climate commitments and current reality by enabling decision makers to investors to act. They find and implement solutions in integrated ways and moblise finance. They build skills to accelerate learning and explore innovation, opening pathways to shift mindsets and behaviours. Through radical collaboration, EIT Climate-KIC orchestrates large-scale demonstrations that show what is possible when cycles of innovation and learning are deliberately designed to trigger exponential decarbonisation and build resilient communities.
GrowthAfricaGrowthAfrica is a leading African accelerator, entrepreneur- and ecosystem support organisation. It supports the growth of entrepreneurs and impactful businesses that innovatively contribute to Africa’s societal and economic progress. GrowthAfrica was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Kenya. The organisation has its own offices in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zambia, Malawi, and Ghana – and works in a number of countries through local partners on the ground. Activities cover 40+ acceleration programmes and a growing portfolio of entrepreneur- and ecosystem support activities.
IKEA FoundationThe IKEA Foundation is a strategic philanthropy that focuses its grant making efforts on tackling the two biggest threats to children’s futures: poverty and climate change. It currently grants more than €200 million per year to help improve family incomes and quality of life while protecting the planet from climate change. Since 2009, the IKEA Foundation has granted more than €1.5 billion to create a better future for children and their families. In 2021 the Board of the IKEA Foundation decided to make an additional €1 billion available over the next five years to accelerate the reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions.
On 23 March 2021, EIT Climate-KIC, with the support...