21 December 2020 | 8 minutes.

Circularity and social inclusiveness for a different Africa

In partnership with ACEN

REVOLVE Circular got together with the eight current members of the ACEN Executive Team: Susanne Karcher (South Africa), Sally-Anne Kasner (South Africa), Murielle Diaco (Cȏte d’Ivoire), Sarah O’Carroll (UK), Alex Lemille (France), Peter Desmond (UK), Chris Whyte (South Africa) and Gracia Munganga (DR Congo). The answers are an amalgamation of the team’s responses.

ACEN is the African Circular Economy Network, a civil society network of Circular Economy thinkers and do-ers advocating for a more circular economy in Africa. ACEN is registered as a Non-Profit Company in South Africa and has around 100 representatives in over 30 African countries.

In summer 2020, ACEN published its new membership policy and regulations, now accepting corporate, media and civil society organizations as its members.

In 2021, ACEN is planning to organize a series of five online workshops for different geographical regions of Africa, culminating in “Africa Circular” as a pan-African summit and in-person event planned for 2022.

Let us talk about the early days of ACEN – when did you establish ACEN, and what were your main objectives at the time?

ACEN was established in July 2016 when a group of circular economy experts came together in Cape Town to discuss how to accelerate the circular transition in Africa. The main vision is still the same today: the association of circularity with social inclusiveness. We aim to build a restorative African economy that generates well-being and prosperity for all. To achieve this, we must utilize new forms of economic production and consumption which maintain and regenerate environmental resources. We have been inspired by sustainability visionaries from the Global North such as Gunter Pauli, Walter Stahel, and Ellen MacArthur as well as practices that have been seen across Africa for decades.

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