WEST AFRICA – Norfund, a development finance institution has approved US$12.85 million investments in plastic recycling in Africa in Nigeria and Ghana.

Norfund has committed EUR 2 million (US$2.25m) as a convertible loan to Wecyclers Nigeria Limited, a recycling company based in Lagos.

At the same time, the company has announced a US$10.5 million investment in Miniplast Ghana Ltd, a leading plastics manufacturer based in Accra, to support its recycling capacity.

Norfund says that the investment in Wecyclers will finance a new plant for recycling PET bottles for use in new bottles locally and in Europe. The plant will be located in Ogun state in Nigeria and have a capacity of 12 000 tonnes per year.

Carl Johan Wahlund, Investment Director for Green Infrastructure at Norfund said: “By showcasing functioning models, we can enable the development of an industry that is crucial in tackling the challenges of plastic pollution while creating a large number of jobs.”

Meanwhile, Norfund’s investment in Miniplast will go towards purchasing new manufacturing equipment and machinery to increase the company’s recycling capacity to 1,700 tonnes a month, increasing further the use of locally sourced recycled materials to substitute imported plastic resins and reducing production costs.

The investment comes at a time when the amount of plastic waste in Nigeria is alarmingly high, according to the National Policy on Solid Waste Management.

Less than 20% of plastic waste is recycled through official channels in the country, which is way below the demand.

Wecyclers has been partnering with other organizations to collect, sort and recycle more plastic waste in Nigeria.

“Wecyclers has managed to establish a model in one of the more difficult areas of the world, with its own collection both directly from households and via kiosks and franchises, combined with a close collaboration with a European plastic producer which will serve to ensure that both the process and the output quality meets highest international standards,” added Wahlund.

Meanwhile, in Ghana, a survey shows that 92% of the respondents do not sort waste in their households.

In 2020, Miniplast established an in-house plastics recycling business that uses locally sourced plastic waste.

These recycled plastics are then used by the company in manufacturing its finished products and sold to third parties.

“Supporting local manufacturing and recycling initiatives will help create many decent jobs not only at Miniplast but across the entire plastics value chain,” says Obafemi Awobokun, project manager for Miniplast in Norfund.

Although Nigeria and Ghana have become aware of problems related to plastic waste at the national level, it is difficult to implement far-reaching, stringent legislation: in emerging economies like these, it has such a significant impact on business.

In addition, the countries have come up with good legislative initiatives on environmental protection, but they are poorly controlled.

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