In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, approximately 17 million tons of plastic waste are produced annually. What’s more, 2.9 megatons of e-waste are generated on the continent.
To address these and other issues, KTN Global Alliance Africa has announced the launch of five challenges as part of its Global Alliance Innovation Exchange programme which is designed to introduce companies with specific challenges to the innovators who are already working on the solutions.
KTN Global Alliance Africa is a six-year project funded by UK Aid through the Innovate UK Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). The long-term ambition of the project is to promote job creation, inclusive growth and poverty reduction through knowledge transfer, skills building and opportunities to support businesses and innovations that deliver scalable impact and sustainable economies. KTN Global Alliance Africa harnesses the collective power of innovators in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and the UK to drive positive change and create value.
Solving South Africa’s plastic problem
Annually, South Africa generates 41 kg of plastic waste per person, which is significantly higher than the global average of 29 kg per annum. KTN Global Alliance Africa is supporting multinational consumer goods company Unilever in achieving its goals of halving the amount of virgin plastic used in its packaging, reducing its plastic usage by more than 100,000 tonnes, and collecting and processing more plastic packaging than sold. To bring about a refill-reuse revolution, Unilever has launched two challenges – the first looks to discover innovative approaches towards new circular business models for reuse and refill in informal trade such as spaza shops, while the second seeks to identify solutions for online customers.
Overcoming Kenya’s e-waste woes
In all of Kenya, less than 10% of electronic waste generated in the country is managed properly. This is concerning given that e-waste like Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs) contain hazardous elements which makes the disposal process complex. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Centre, which processes CRTs, is on the hunt for innovative solutions for the recycling and reuse of led-embedded screens and steering coils and is wanting to explore alternative uses for CRTs, either in their current state or in a new form following their disposal.
Curbing Kenya’s food insecurity crisis
Approximately 1.3 million people in Kenya are currently facing crisis levels of acute food insecurity. Further compacting the problem are economically damaging pests like the False Codling Moth (FCM) which impacts over 100 host plants, fruit trees, field crops and other plants. Flamingo Horticulture International, a horticultural business with a global footprint that spans the farming, production, sales and marketing of fresh produce and flowers, is on the lookout for innovative cross sectorial solutions to detect, screen and eradicate FCM.
Applications for all five Challenges close on 28 January 2022. The top candidates will then be selected to pitch their ideas to those companies seeking these solutions. The most promising solution providers for each challenge will receive GBP 25,000 in seed funding to develop their concept into a prototype or pilot, with additional support from KTN Global Alliance Africa. Plus, shortlisted candidates will receive pitch training and mentorship.