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News article16 February 2022Directorate-General for Environment

Environmental cooperation: European Commission joins forces with African partners to promote circular economy

Today, the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginius Sinkevičius took part in a High Level event on Circular Economy together with High Level African representatives of the African Union and of the African Circular Economy Alliance. This event highlighted the opportunities offered by the Circular Economy transition in the EU and in Africa and the willingness of EU and African green companies and entrepreneurs to increase cooperation.

This High Level event was organised jointly by the European Commission and the African Circular Economy Alliance in the context of the Europe Africa Business Forum taking place in the margin of the European Union – African Union Summit of 17-18 February.

This virtual event gathered representatives of businesses from EU and Africa applying Circular Economy business models related notably to e-waste management and recycling industries. It allowed a frank discussion on the opportunities as well as the challenges in turning EU and African economies more circular.

Commissioner Sinkevičius said:

There is a growing recognition both in the EU and in Africa of the need to increase the circularity of our economies in order to decouple growth and resource use. For this to happen, we need our respective businesses in EU and Africa to close this loop and join forces. Events like these contribute to this, increasing EU cooperation with the African Union and the African Circular Economy Alliance on circular economy. We need to work jointly to turn today's challenges into opportunities and deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals.

The participants in the Europe Africa Business Forum, titled “Building Stronger Value Chains for Sustainable Growth and Decent Jobs” also had opportunities during the week to participate in other events related to the Circular Economy transition in the textile and agri-food value chains notably. They also could take part in matchmaking events to discuss between European and African counterparts how to turn circular principles into green business opportunities in Europe and Africa.

During this event, the Environment Minister of Rwanda and co-chair of the African Circular Economy Alliance Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya welcomed the European Commission as a new Strategic Partner of the African Circular Economy Alliance and announced Rwanda’s intention to host the 2022 edition of the World Circular Economy Forum, for the first time in Africa.

The EU and the African Union, represented in this event by African Union Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment Josefa Sacko share an interest in strengthening their cooperation on environmental matters.

Both the European Commission and African partners will consider ways to follow up on the results of this event through further exchanges of experiences and good practices at a technical level on policies related to the circular economy, the efficient use of resources, and the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, notably through the work of the African Circular Economy Alliance.


The contribution of emerging economies to key environmental challenges and their potential for economic growth make them key partners in promoting the transition to a circular economy.

The European Circular Economy Action Plan is a comprehensive action plan to transform the European economy and ensure that the resources used are kept in the EU economy for as long as possible. It notably focuses on making sustainable products the norm on the EU market, on empowering citizens, and on reducing waste production by focusing on key sectors that use the most resources and where the potential for circularity is high (electronics/ICT, batteries and vehicles, packaging/plastics, textiles, construction/buildings and food, water and nutrients): 

The African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA) is a government-led coalition of African nations and global partners committed to advancing the circular economy transition at the national, regional and continental levels. It was conceived in 2016 during the World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali and formally launched at COP 23 in Bonn in 2017. Since 2019, the ACEA secretariat has been hosted at the African Development Bank. It has notably identified five promising sectors for scaling up circular value chains in Africa.  These include food systems, packaging, the built environment, fashion & textiles, and electronics.

Recent studies have shown that the circular economy transition can have net positive benefits in terms of GDP growth and jobs' creation, both in the EU and in Africa, while reducing the environmental impact of this growth.

Read more

EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP)

International dimension of EU’s CEAP

The African Circular Economy Alliance


Publication date
16 February 2022
Directorate-General for Environment

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