Nesta Challenges has launched the Afri-Plastics Challenge that will involve a public competition to reward the best solutions from across sub-Saharan Africa. The solutions will address marine plastic waste in developing countries in a way that promotes gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.

The competition’s first leg, Accelerating Ideas, invites entrepreneurs from across sub-Saharan Africa to showcase their best innovations designed to improve plastic waste management. The Challenge calls for applications from registered Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and SMEs that have the ability to scale nationally or regionally to reach a high target number of people, particularly engaging women and girls.

Over 17 million tonnes of waste are generated by sub-Saharan Africa annually, and only 12% of plastic waste is recycled. The Afri-Plastics Challenge seeks to find innovators with scalable and sustainable solutions to prevent plastic waste from entering the marine environment in sub-Saharan Africa.

Over 220 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year across the world. Much of this waste ends up in oceans and other water bodies. In many African countries, approximately 12% of waste plastics are recycled and the rest are disposed of, burned or buried.

Speaking at the launch of the competition, Constance Agyeman, Director of International Development, Nesta Challenges said, “The drive for home-grown innovation in Africa has led to a major rise in African entrepreneurs developing solutions that are effective and contextual to their environments. This in turn has attracted several global firms and tech hubs to the continent. We are looking for founders, innovators and entrepreneurs across Sub-Saharan Africa with exciting concepts to alleviate the negative impacts of plastic pollution, to help protect marine environments.”

The Challenge will directly distribute Ksh. 1.2 billion (CA$14,500,000) in financial support and Ksh. 85,344,058(CA$1,000,000) in capacity-building support to the winning innovators across the various strands of the Challenge.

Interested innovators should apply for the competition by Wednesday 15th September, 2021 12 PM BST. The Afri-Plastics Challenge is funded by the Government of Canada, and delivered by Nesta Challenges.