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Rwanda sets pace for plastic cycle management. Here’s how

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Rwanda has teamed up with 13 other countries and the European Union to come up with a proposal that is calling for a full spectrum approach to plastic pollution.

The proposal, which calls for the creation of an internationally legally binding agreement covering all stages of the plastic life cycle and by adopting a circular economy approach to plastics, was presented at the United Nations (UN) Environmental Assembly meeting in Nairobi discussing the problem of plastic waste.

The proposal covers plastic use and disposal, the extraction of raw materials and plastic production.

Delegates from member countries have put forth proposals for a binding global treaty to curb plastic pollution.

Waste management has been one of core environmental challenges in the world, particularly in Africa. In Nigeria, one of Africa’s most populous countries, about some 32 million tonnes of waste are generated per year of which 2.5 million tonnes are plastic waste. Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria generates 9,000 tonnes of waste daily with 86 percent of it plastic.

Kenya environmentalist and activist, Wanjira Mathai, while reacting to the development, said

“We must celebrate what Rwanda is trying to do because we know that on the continent Rwanda continues to lead with respect, they were the first country to ban single use plastic. Most of us followed later, keeping our environment clean. It is a country that has got credibility with respect to this agenda. I really hope they get the support that is needed. With the information we have today, with what we know today about the impacts of plastics on our oceans, on our environment we cannot be those people. We have got to find alternatives so I hope they get the support they need,”

In February 2021, Wildlife group WWF published a report written in collaboration with Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute.

The study compiled data from 2,590 scientific studies on the topic and found that plastic has infiltrated all parts of the ocean, and called for urgent efforts to create an international treaty on plastics.

According to the WWF report published, 88% of marine species it studied are affected by severe contamination of plastic in the ocean. The report said that many animals have ingested these plastics, including animals commonly consumed by humans.

In the Rwandan capital, Kigali, plastic waste is being recycled by a local company.

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Applications open for 2024 Africa’s Business Heroes competition

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Applications are now open for the 2024 cohort of the Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition in continuation of its sixth annual continental search for 10 entrepreneurs who strive to make a positive impact in their local communities.

Zahra Baitie, Head of Partnerships & Programs, Africa’s Business Heroes, who made the announcement, said since its inception in 2019, ABH had spotlighted and supported some of Africa’s brightest entrepreneurial minds, noting that this year’s edition would be no different.

In a statement on Monday, Baitie noted that the ABH top 10 finalists also known as “Heroes” have, over the last five years, created 123,000 direct and indirect jobs in Africa, while serving over 37.5 million customers in Africa and beyond and have raised over $153 million.

“As ABH enters its sixth year, it is calling on entrepreneurs across Africa to pitch on the biggest entrepreneurial stage in the continent,” he said.

Applications are open to entrepreneurs from all 54 countries, from all business sectors, of all ages and genders.

“Along with invaluable benefits such as training, exposure and networking opportunities, the top 10 finalists will also compete for their share of $1.5 million in grant money.

“Over the past five years, we’ve had the privilege of witnessing the incredible growth of our Heroes. Many of our Heroes have leveraged the grant funds to expand their geographic footprint, hire talent, grow their operations and invest in new products and services.

”It’s been heart-warming to see our Heroes collaborate with each other and to tap into the ABH network of judges and experts.

“We are motivated to continue to play our part in supporting the African entrepreneurial ecosystem. We are calling on all eligible African entrepreneurs who are creating positive impact to join us in this journey!”

Baitie added that applications for the ABH 2024 are open from until May 19, with the top 50 finalists to be announced in July.

The final winners will be unveiled at the Grand Finale in November, Baitie concluded.

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MainOne lands optic submarine cable in Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom State

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Data centre and connectivity solutions provider, MainOne, has landed Africa’s first ever
optic submarine cable in Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom State.

MainOne, a subsidiary of Equinix Company, announced the feat of the first and only submarine cable system in Nigeria outside of Lagos.

According to the Regional Business Head at MainOne, Abayomi Adebanjo, the collaboration between the company and the state marks a significant “milestone in enhancing broadband connectivity and driving economic development in the South-South, South-East and North-Central regions of Nigeria.”

The optic cable known as 2Africa, Adebanjo said, spans 45,000km in length and will be one of the world’s largest subsea cable projects which will interconnect Europe, Asia, and Africa, with a design capacity of up to 180Tbps.

“The significance of 2Africa lies in its capacity to address critical internet needs and enhance reliability across vast expanses of Africa,” he said.

“Furthermore, 2Africa serves as a catalyst for the advancement of 4G, 5G and fixed broadband accessibility, extending its impact to billions of people.

“With a commitment to consistently deploy financial capital and project resources towards infrastructure investments, MainOne is dedicated to improving internet capacity and driving various aspects of development, including economic growth, digital transformation, healthcare, security, agriculture, and increased state revenue in South-South Nigeria.

“Akwa Ibom’s selection as a landing site underscores its strategic importance in Nigeria’s digital transformation journey and by offering cable diversity and resiliency, 2Africa contributes significantly to the country’s digital infrastructure resilience and MainOne’s role as the landing partner solidifies this endeavour,” he stated.

He added that MainOne will facilitate the establishment of a terrestrial metro fiber network in the state and the entire South-South Nigeria, seamlessly connecting enterprises and people in the region to the submarine cable system.

“By hosting the submarine cable system landing and the fiber cable interconnection, Akwa Ibom State, the South-South Region and Nigeria will unlock numerous economic and social benefits, fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, job creation, and improved public service delivery,” Adebanjo said.

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