Circular economy in the Africa-EU cooperation – Country report for South Africa

Cover Circular Economy Country report South Africa
Potgieter, J. E.; M. Hemkhaus, S. van Hummelen, M. McGovern, I. Artola, J. Rajput and J. Ahlers 2021: Circular economy in the Africa-EU cooperation. Country report for South Africa. Brussels: European Commission.

South Africa plays a leading role in promoting a green economy agenda on the African Continent. The well-established policy framework for a green economy strategy supports the country’s emergent shift to circular economy approaches. A green recovery post-Covid, that prioritises the Green Economy as one of the four sectors to assist with economic recovery, is envisioned, if not yet institutionalised. The initial challenges faced concerning economic recovery in the wake of Covid-19 were focused on mitigating risks to livelihoods. However, as we navigate the economic recovery, national government is seeing the opportunity that the pandemic offers to pivot to a circular economy that is inclusive of economically marginalised population segments. In South Africa, waste management presents an unmissable opportunity. Ongoing prioritisation of the plastics industry highlight opportunities for a CE transition that builds on the already well-established recycling industry. Expanding on anchor industries, such as the recycling industry, can ease a circular economy shift. This could have particular value for marginalised communities, who stand to benefit from the jobs created and the businesses established from waste recycling. This is being enabled by the newly gazetted 2020 National Waste Management Strategy that provides government policy and strategic interventions for the waste sector and is aligned and responsive to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is also aligned and consistent with South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP): Vision 2030 is South Africa’s specific response to and integration of the SDGs into the overall socio-economic development plans. The sectors identified as those with the most potential for CE and for EU-SA cooperation are agriculture, plastics, mining and construction. The selection of these sectors is based on their relatively high contribution to GDP, an enabling national policy framework, and alignment with the EU’s circular economy action plan.

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