Entrepreneurs create and bring to life new technologies, products and services, building new markets and jobs along the way. Africa’s role on the global stage as a hub for economic growth and empowerment opportunities continues to gather pace. However, there are critical challenges, in particular the need to create a significant number of jobs for the growing populations, as well as developing home-grown business leaders able to access global markets and drive growth in a sustainable and inclusive manner.
Transforming ideas into economic opportunities is the crux of entrepreneurship and REDISA recognises the possibilities which lie in circular economies specifically, for all those willing to look at waste not as waste, but as opportunity.
The current levels of production and consumption are no longer sustainable. It is anticipated that by 2030, the world’s population could sit at 9 billion, with an additional 3 billion new middle-class consumers over and above today’s 1.8 billion.
Expanding supply of consumer goods and services to meet this future demand presents a great challenge, but one that a circular economy model is capable of meeting – particularly if it is implemented within every country, region and community.
The World Economic Forum estimates the circular economy could be worth $1 trillion worldwide by 2025. This would mean that doing more with less would bring more wealth and jobs, and less landfill, resource depletion and environmental damage. Currently, there are only a few countries which are experimenting with more circular thinking – these include the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, China, Japan and South Africa. The promise of circular economy initiatives is that they will provide brand-new business needs which will simultaneously address resource and environmental challenges, and generate economic activity to fund those needs.
Entrepreneurship is acknowledged as one of the drivers of sustainable economic growth because entrepreneurs create new businesses, drive and shape innovation, speed up structural changes in the economy, and introduce new competition – thereby contributing to productivity.
The circular economy focuses on creating and promoting new business opportunities that entail entrepreneurship and eco-innovation with the aim of waste being fed back into the production process as raw material.
Entrepreneurs will be the key custodians responsible for leading the transition to a circular economy business model and closing the loop on dwindling resources. Essentially this is what needs to be focusing on, pairing both entrepreneurial spirit and the concerted effort to finding solutions to the many challenges and problems that we face as a country and a continent.