E. Africa: Weak regulation & resistance from industries slowing down transition to green economy

Author: James Onyanzwa, EastAfrican (Kenya), Published on: 27 May 2019

"East Africa’s green economy shift off to shaky start"

East African countries lack the institutional capacity to implement policies on clean and environment friendly technologies, which is stifling sustainable growth of green economies across the region, according to a new report by UK-based research firm Chatham House. The report, released last week and titled An Inclusive Circular Economy: Priorities for Developing Countries, shows that although Rwanda and Kenya have imposed total bans on plastic bags in an attempt to reduce pollution, there are still a large number of plastic bags being smuggled into the countries. The two countries have also failed to give retailers, manufacturers and consumers cheap and good-quality alternatives to plastic bags...

According to the report, weak regulations have also led to substandard practices in the construction sector and compromised the sector’s ability to recycle.

The report notes that a shift to a circular economy would allow countries to reduce environmental degradation and reap the benefits of industrialisation through a green economy. A circular economy is one in which products and materials are recycled, repaired and reused rather than thrown away, and in which waste from industrial processes becomes a valued input. Among other constraints to implementing a circular economy are lack of access to finance and technology, lack of appropriate infrastructure and skills and resistance from incumbent industries. “For all of the excitement around the circular economy as a new development paradigm, progress in its implementation has been slow. Although many countries have shown improvements in energy efficiency and resource productivity, these gains have not translated into a reduction in absolute resource use at the global level,” said the report. “Even in countries generally perceived to have advanced waste management systems, a circular economy is taking time to take shape,” added the report.

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