Nesta Challenges launches Afri-Plastics Challenge

AdobeStock 189586418Nesta Challenges has launched the Afri-Plastics Challenge involving a public competition that will reward the best solutions from across sub-Saharan Africa to addressing marine plastic waste in developing countries

The competition's first strand, Accelerating Ideas, invites entrepreneurs from across sub-Saharan Africa to showcase their innovations designed to improve plastic waste management in a socially and environmentally responsible way. The Challenge calls for applications from registered non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have proof of concept and the ability to scale nationally or regionally to reach a high target number of people, particularly engaging women and girls.

More than 17mn tonnes of waste is generated by sub-Saharan Africa annually, and only 12% of plastic waste is recycled. The Afri-Plastics Challenge seeks to find innovators with scalable and sustainable solutions to prevent plastic waste from entering the marine environment in sub-Saharan Africa. While not limited by gender, the Challenge encourages women and girls to participate by submitting their solutions. In many African countries, approximately 12% of waste plastics are recycled and the rest are disposed of, burned or buried.

Constance Agyeman, director of International Development, Nesta Challenges, said, “The drive for home-grown innovation in Africa has led to a major rise in African entrepreneurs developing solutions that are effective and contextual to their environments. This in turn has attracted several global firms and tech hubs to the continent. We are looking for founders, innovators and entrepreneurs across sub-Saharan Africa with exciting concepts to alleviate the negative impacts of plastic pollution, to help protect marine environments.”

The Afri-Plastics Challenge is funded by the Government of Canada, and delivered by Nesta Challenges.

The Challenge will directly distribute CA$14.5mn (approx. US$ 11.5mn) in financial support and CA$1,000,000+ (approx. US$796,000) in nonfinancial (capacity-building) support to the winning innovators. Innovators interested in participating in the Challenge can learn more about the criteria and process for application by visiting:

Applications will close on September 15, 2021. 

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