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Afri-Plastics Challenge: Accelerating Growth

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Tackling marine plastics in Sub-Saharan Africa

Over 17 million tonnes of waste are generated by Sub-Saharan Africa annually, and only 12% of plastic waste is recycled. The Challenge aims to reduce marine plastics in Sub-Saharan African countries by developing and scaling innovative solutions to plastic mismanagement in a way that promotes gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.

The Challenge will help communities throughout Sub-Saharan Africa to prevent plastic waste from entering the marine environment by finding ways to minimize reliance on plastic and new ways of managing plastic waste.

Schematic of the plastics value chain, from sources of plastic to collection, waste systems, and leaks into the environment.

The Problem

Over the past years, demand for plastic has substantially increased in Sub-Saharan Africa and it is projected to follow the same trajectory over the next decades…

375% Growth

in Sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East and North Africa Together

210% Increase

in Global Average by 2060

Areas of opportunity for innovation

We are looking for existing solutions to improve plastic waste management that can be scaled throughout the duration of the Prize. Examples of a few of the types of organisations that may be interested in applying and scaling their businesses include; small-medium scale recyclers, waste picking organisations, waste management enterprises or small-medium buy-back centres.

The two main strategies for mitigating plastic leakages at the downstream level include improved and intensified waste collection, and recycling – actions within these two dimensions are highly interdependent.

We strongly encourage all entrants to consult the official site,, for additional information and resources before entering the Challenge.

Challenge Timeline

The Afri-Plastics Challenge is divided into three strands:

  • Strand 1: Accelerating Growth

    Seeking small and medium-sized enterprises that have a proof of concept and the ability to scale nationally or regionally to reach a high target number of people, particularly engaging women and girls.

    Learn more here.

  • Strand 2: Creating Solutions (Launching September 2021)

    A call for new ideas particularly those that respond to a particular gap in the innovation landscape in specific Sub-Saharan African countries or with specific population groups.

  • Strand 3: Promoting Change (Launching December 2021)

    A call for large scale campaigns that raise awareness and engage women and girls in the plastics value chain.



This Project is an element of the $100-million Marine Litter Mitigation Fund announced by Prime Minister Trudeau at the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Charlevoix in June 2018. Funding for the initiative comes from the International Assistance Priorities Fund.


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