ACE Africa

Accelerating Circular Economy Innovation for Food, Climate and Health in Africa

We accelerate circularity innovation and co-creation in the intersecting areas of food, health and climate change in Africa by guiding entrepreneurs and new start-ups through an incubation programme and providing a platform for exposure to, and interaction with, mature circular economy businesses, funders and government officers.

ACE Africa Project

The ACE Africa project aims to support the growth of circular economy businesses in Africa. Circular economy is a growing area of interest for achieving sustainability across multiple sectors, and it is clear that, in Africa, the private sector is leading the transition to a circular economy. With a focus on the intersecting areas of food, health and climate change, this project will guide entrepreneurs, and new start-ups through an incubation programme and provide a platform for exposure to, and interaction with, mature circular economy businesses, funders and government officers. The desired outcomes are to support a number of businesses to mature, to contribute to improved innovation ecosystems for circular economy, and to provide guidance to local governments on how to improve or support innovative businesses that enhance circular development.

Project location(s): African Cities

Duration: Since 2021

Project activities

The project will be implemented in three phases:

Phase 1 focuses on broadening the understanding of circular development, inviting start-ups and entrepreneurs into the incubation programmes, and upskilling the chosen companies

Phase 2 supports the growth and development of these start-ups, and further circular economy businesses through a year-long Action and Learning Festival. The festival brings together circular economy businesses and stakeholders for co-learning and sharing and includes webinar presentations, match-making opportunities, business showcases and city-to-city and city-to-business exchange events.

Phase 3 documents the learnings that have emerged throughout the project and develops guidance documents, policy briefs and action plans which identify key opportunities and actions for supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses to contribute to African cities’ strategic priorities and wider goals of food security, climate resilience, health and wellbeing, and circular development.

Circularity principles

RETHINK

REGENERATE

REDUCE

REUSE

RECOVER

The circular economy is a system of resource management which ensures continuous use of materials, goods, energy and waste. It is an economic system of closed loops in which raw materials, components and products retain as much value throughout their lifecycle. This economic system requires investment in renewable energy and resources, new design thinking and early-stage mitigation. In a circular economy where growth exists, regeneration is also vital. 

In many urban African contexts, the adoption of circular solutions has focused largely on recycling, but achieving a circular economy can be done through various interventions and strategies. ICLEI, with Circle Economy and Metabolic, have developed a Circular City Actions Framework which suggests a range of strategies and actions to support circular development at the local level. The key strategies include recover, rethink, regenerate, reduce and reuse. These strategies have been used to frame  an ACE Africa catalogue of business actions to inspire and guide entrepreneurs, as part of the ’Circularity is …’ Campaign.

The Circularity is … Campaign is a catalogue of intervention ideas which start-up businesses can adopt as business strategies, or incorporate into their existing business models. This campaign aims to show that the circular economy is wider than waste management and recycling, and has many strategies and actions that aim to support circular solutions to resource management.

See our campaign roll out here.

Download the catalogue here.

Have any questions about circularity or circular economy? Check out the catalogue below:

ACE Africa Action and Learning Festival

UPCOMING WEBINARS

Building capacity for circular economy innovation

The Six-Part Series addresses the question of what is needed to support small businesses and entrepreneurs to innovate for circular systems, products and services.

The series addresses the question of how – and  what is needed to support small businesses and entrepreneurs to innovate for circular systems, products and services. Jointly convened by ICLEI Africa and African Circular Economy Network, the series aim to create a platform for exploring ideas and perspectives on business and circularity, articulating existing enabling mechanisms for and barriers to circular economy transition, and facilitating discussions around a common understanding of what it takes to build the capacity of the private sector to mainstream circularity? The series comprises six ‘episodes’ which will explore a different need:

08 February 2022 – Circular supply chain model – bridging the transition from linear to circular
08 March 2022 – Designing systems and policy frameworks for circular economy innovation
05 April 2022 – Leveraging partnerships for circular development
03 May 2022 – Building the circular human capital – Inspiration starts as early as kindergarten
07 June 2022 – The flourishing circular entrepreneurial ecosystem: from idea to implementation [NEXT UP]
05 July 2022 – Where Business and Circularity Intersect: Meet the ACE Africa Entrepreneurs Pushing the Boundaries of Sustainability in African Cities

REGISTER HERE

Catch ACE Africa at #RISEAfrica2022

Where Business and Circularity Intersect: Meet the ACE Africa Entrepreneurs Pushing the Boundaries of Sustainability in African Cities
Monday 23 May 2022 / 15:00 – 16:45 pm CAT

The session will explore the intersection between business and circularity – how circular models and principles are providing sustainable business solutions, and how businesses are at the heart of, and leading the circular economy transition. In this session, we will showcase ACE Africa businesses implementing circular economy solutions in African cities.

REGISTER HERE

PAST WEBINARS

Building Capacity for Circular Economy Innovation Session 3: Leveraging partnerships for circular development

05 April 2022 | Read report here

WATCH HERE

Building Capacity for Circular Economy Innovation Session 2: Designing systems and policy frameworks for circular economy innovation

8 March 2022 | Read report here

WATCH HERE

Building Capacity for Circular Economy Innovation Session 1: Circular supply chain model – bridging the transition from linear to circular

8 February 2022 | Read report here

WATCH HERE

How to Incorporate Circular and Sustainable Practices into Your Business

On 26 November 2021 ICLEI Africa and University of Stellenbosch LaunchLab hosted a webinar that explored practical tips on how to incorporate circular and sustainable practices into businesses. 

WATCH HERE

Circular business showcase

On 30 November 2021 ICLEI Africa and University of Stellenbosch LaunchLab hosted a showcase of circular businesses. 

Circular economy is increasingly gaining traction as an approach to promote sustainability-oriented innovation and to accelerate resource sustainability in African cities. Businesses are vital to leading this circular transition.

WATCH HERE

ACE Africa Virtual Launch

On 24 August 2021 ICLEI Africa and University of Stellenbosch LaunchLab held a virtual launch of the ACE Africa Project.

It provided an opportunity to learn more about the project, the incubation programme and the application process. Whether you are planning on applying for the incubation programme or want to know more about our circular economy action and learning events, this webinar is a great place to start. Watch the recording below:

WATCH HERE

Project partners