Africa-EU Cooperation: Strengthening Ties in the Transition towards a Circular Economy

With the European Green Deal, the EU is accelerating the emergence and development of a circular economy. New emerging business models and operations as well as novel concepts of production and consumption will have profound implications on how the EU cooperates with, trades with, and aids third parties beyond its borders. As the African continent is one of the major suppliers of raw materials to the EU and globally, the transition towards a circular economy in both continents will have far-reaching consequences for Africa-EU relations. However, it is still unclear to which degree African countries have taken circular economy actions and the impacts these measures might have on their bilateral partnership with the EU. Opportunities and trade-offs derived from the transition to a circular economy in the EU and Africa remain unknown, as studies on the subject have been scarce. Given the economic interdependencies between the two parties, these aspects will be highly relevant for future cooperation of the two parties. 

For this reason, the European Commission is funding a project that aims to address these knowledge gaps and assist policy makers from the EU in elaborating a more effective and integrated approach to promoting the circular economy transition in Africa. The project leader is Trinomics, supported by a versatile group of specialised partners including adelphi, Cambridge Econometrics, TOMA-Now, Green Crossroads and Circle Economy. The project is structured along two interdependent work streams: first, a continental report will be produced, outlining the state of play of the circular economy on a pan-African scale; second, eight detailed Country Reports for selected case-study countries will shed further light on the state of play, opportunities and trade-offs on a country-level. Besides presenting information from qualitative analyses, the reports will model the socio-economic impacts of the transition to a circular economy in terms of trade volume, job creation and economic growth (amongst others).

Leading the analysis of international cooperation and stakeholder consultation, the focus of adelphi will be to deliver further insights for an effective collaboration on the subject of Circular Economy between the EU and Africa. Based on adelphi’s expertise in the fields of eco-entrepreneurship in Africa, engagement strategies and technical collaboration for multi-and bilateral development organisations, adelphi will conduct a Circular Economy stakeholder mapping exercise for the project. Additionally, adelphi will provide an analysis of African umbrella initiatives, economic partnership agreements and association agreements of the EU with African countries (or economic areas) and their respective role in promoting circular economy in Africa. The results will be captured in form of eight country-level reports and one continental report, which provide decision support to the European Commission in the context of Africa-EU cooperation.