Using circular economy transition to spur growth

Bank of Uganda offices in Kampala. The Central Bank has unveiled a five-year Strategic Plan for 2022 to 2027 to strengthen its ability in maintaining stability in the economy and sound financial system to support investments in the country. PHOTO/file

What you need to know:

  • The freedoms of future generations would be in danger if we did not find ways to compensate for the loss of finite resources. 

Uganda is strategically positioned to serve as the circular economy centre for Africa. In its Vision 2040 strategy, which also intends to incorporate green economy and climate resilience measures, the government has placed the environment at the centre of all its policies, programmes, and initiatives.

For example, the Uganda Environmental Act of 2019 indicates that any business that makes waste must use the circular economy.

The utilisation of non-renewable resources is under scrutiny as Uganda moves towards a sustainable future. The take-make-waste paradigm can be replaced by circular models, which are the cornerstone of sustainable resource consumption. 

The concept of a “circular economy” utilises a philosophy that has been around for millennia and is oriented towards a strategy for lowering the consumption of non-renewable minerals. It is a more recent term for sustainability. After all, this contradicts a linear economy, which now constitutes the preponderance of economic models and generally follows the take-make-dispose process to supply commodities to users. The circular economy relies on the fundamentals of driving out waste and pollution, sustaining products and resources in use, and restoring ecosystems. A shift drives it towards renewable sources of energy.

The way towards a circular economy is through a comprehensive cultural transformation of attitudes and behaviours. You need to get resources together, use them well, build your skills through robust capacity building, and regular supervision.

A circular economy model depicts excess consumer products as intake instead of disposal and has tremendous potential for lowering humankind’s ecological impact. In order to maintain a safe economy, it also ensures that manufacturers take waste into account as a primary resource for other production processes.

Adopting a circular economy is necessary because efficient, competitive, and operating marketplaces for metals, minerals, and other natural resources are necessary to guarantee production and maintain the socioeconomic conditions of nations across the globe. 

On how Uganda is transitioning to an increasingly sustainable future following the April 18, 2013 introduction of the Uganda Vision 2040. It has emphasized initiatives to prioritise sustainable development. The National Water and Sewerage Corporation  (NWSC) decided to develop its own in-house solutions that eliminate waste. NWSC and international non-profit Water For People recently signed an agreement to turn faeces and sludge from Kampala’s treatment facilities into biomass for combustion and fertilisers.

Similarly, government collaborates with various private entities and stakeholders involved in the market for plastic packaging to promote recycling through the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), the government entity in charge of the operational management of the capital city. The question of whether or not these methods can be used to collect, sort, and recycle all packaging materials remains open.

The 2040 vision has served as the foundation for Uganda’s initiatives to build a political structure with sustainable, integrated economic, social, and ecological growth that makes the most of the country’s natural and human resources guarantee a secure future. The freedoms of future generations would be in danger if we did not find ways to compensate for the loss of finite resources by creating  sustainable ways to make a living.

The government also fosters a favourable environment for the private sector to undertake projects encouraging lengthy economic sustainability. 

It is also good to see enterprises, especially in the energy sector, responding positively to government’s public-private partnerships to adopt the circular economy model. 

Transitioning to a circular economy involves a systemic transformation that establishes long-term resilience, offers commercial and monetary prospects, and generates ecological and societal advantages. It is not just a set of changes meant to make the adverse effects of the linear economy less severe.

Derrick Kansime Kamugisha, Industrial Engineer, Beijing, China. [email protected]

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