Rwanda: E-Waste Project Is Expected to Create Many Jobs

As reported by the newspaper The New Times, in March this year Rwanda has started an electronic waste dismantling and refurbishing plant in Bugesera Industrial Zone (Eastern Province, Rwanda).

“The project is under the national e-waste management strategy that seeks to support the establishment of sustainable recycling industries as part of the country‘s green development agenda,” The New Times reported in August this year. “It is currently being operated by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and East African Community Affairs.” According to the information provided, the project’s capacity is more than 10,000 tons of electronic and solid waste per year.

Approved in December 2016, the project started in spring this year. “The initiative will promote environmental protection in the country by refurbishing and recycling old materials such as computers, TV screens, plastics and metals among others. Furthermore, it will create jobs and new business opportunities,” the newspaper cited Olivier Mbera, the e-waste program manager at the Ministry. “The project is still being run by government, but we are seeking private firms to operate it under a public-private partnership scheme.”

100 tons of electronic and solid waste have been collected from the banks, universities and other institutions targeting the plant. Over 30 percent of the dismantled and refurbished materials are plastic, while 50 percent are metals, including copper. According to the information, there is a market for dismantled and refurbished materials, locally and in the region.

Specific needs identified

According to a study in 2011 – funded by the Rwanda Management Authority (REMA) under the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Forest – e-waste management in Rwanda did not exist at the time. The survey on EEEs and the expected amount of e-waste to be generated in the country revealed that there is an annual growth at nearly 6 percent. The study also indicated that Rwanda has an annual e-waste generation potential of between 10,000 and 15,000 tons. According to the news agency APA – Agence Presse Africaine, the facility seeks to offer a solution for electronic and electrical waste while preventing a negative impact of electronic waste on the health or the environment once the equipment has become junk.

Photo: O. Kürth

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