Nesta Challenges has announced the launch of the CA$14,500,000 Afri-Plastics Challenge. It will involve a public competition that will reward the best solutions from across sub-Saharan Africa that address marine plastic waste in developing countries in a way that promotes gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.
The competition's first strand, Accelerating Ideas, invites entrepreneurs from across sub-Saharan Africa to showcase their best innovations designed to improve plastic waste management in a socially and environmentally responsible way, and to reduce the presence of marine plastic litter across Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Challenge calls for applications from registered non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) 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.
Over 17 million tonnes of waste are generated by sub-Saharan Africa annually and only 12 percent of plastic scrap 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.
“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,” said Constance Agyeman, Director of International Development, Nesta Challenges.
“As Africa begins to recover from Covid-19, innovation remains vital to economic growth, competitiveness and health. SMEs are an important part of the solution because they are constantly innovating, pushing the boundaries of what is possible under much pressure and often with limited resources. We are excited to hear from African entrepreneurs about the ways that their initiatives meet the Afri-Plastics Challenge,” Agyeman added.
The Challenge will directly distribute CA$14,500,000 in financial support and CA$1,000,000+ in nonfinancial (capacity-building) support to the winning innovators across the various strands of the Challenge, as per the statement.
Innovators interested in participating in the Challenge can learn more about the criteria and process for application by visiting: http://Afri-Plastics.Challenges.org. Applications close Wednesday 15th September 2021, 12PM BST. The Afri-Plastics Challenge is funded by the Government of Canada and delivered by Nesta Challenges.