World Economic Forum platform the Global Global Plastic Action Partnership will work with local leaders in Nigeria to build plastic waste infrastructure


Nigeria is the fourth country to join the Global Plastic Action Partnership (Credit: Shutterstock/Harvepino)

Nigeria is due to officially join forces with the World Economic Forum in its fight to tackle plastic pollution.

The country is doing this by joining the World Economic Forum’s Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP), a platform that works with governments, businesses and civil society to translate plastic pollution commitments into concrete solutions.

Nigeria is the largest economy on the African continent and home to one of the largest youth populations in the world.

The country’s environment minister Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar said: “With this partnership, Nigeria is further reinforcing its commitments and efforts towards addressing plastic pollution and safeguarding the environment.

“From co-founding the African Circular Economy Alliance and establishing a Nigerian/AfDB Circular Economy Working Group to joining the Global Plastic Action Partnership, Nigeria is determined to unleash the full potential of our young generation of innovative and passionate leaders so that we can work together towards a future free of plastic pollution and waste.

“We look forward to strengthening our engagement with the World Economic Forum on this effort and to formally launching the partnership in the coming months.”


World Economic Forum looking to aid Nigeria in building plastic waste infrastructure

Mismanaged plastic waste and unsustainable plastics production are commonplace in the west Africa region.

Challenges in the region include thin capacity and investment in waste collection and recycling, and varying levels of awareness of sustainable practices among businesses and consumers.

In 2018, it was estimated that around 200,000 tonnes of plastic waste into the ocean per year from Nigeria, while its annual plastics production is projected to grow to 523,000 tonnes by 2022.

In joining GPAP, Nigeria will work with the World Economic Forum to launch a National Plastic Action Partnership, based on a promising model that has been piloted in Indonesia, Ghana and Vietnam.

Its principal mandates will include creating and working with locally-led, locally driven platforms to bring together the country’s most influential policy-makers, business leaders and civil society advocates.

The goal is to deliver a national action plan for radically reducing plastic pollution, connecting high-potential solutions with strategic financing opportunities.

In Indonesia, the national partnership has launched action and investment roadmaps that could prevent 16 million tonnes of plastic leakage into the ocean.

In addition to this, the project in the south-east Asian nation is estimated to create 150,000 jobs, and generate $10bn a year in revenue from investment in waste management, plastics substitution and innovative business models.

Similar ambitious blueprints for action are under development in Ghana and Vietnam and will be initiated in Nigeria on the partnership’s formal launch in early 2021.

Global Plastic Action Partnership director Kristin Hughes said: “Amidst the myriad economic and social challenges that nearly every nation is facing, Nigeria has recognised plastic pollution as an urgent priority that cannot be sidelined.

“Plastic waste and pollution are not issues that exist in a vacuum – they are deeply and intrinsically tied not only to the health of our environment but also the well-being of women and children, the livelihoods of communities and informal workers, the creation of new jobs and ways of working, and a nation’s ability to build a sustainable and thriving economy that leaves no one behind.

“We are honoured to support the Nigerian people in their fight to turn the tide on plastic pollution.”

Nigeria is also one of the founding members of the African Circular Economy Alliance, alongside South Africa, Rwanda, the African Development Bank, the UN Environment Programme and the World Economic Forum.

The regional platform has mobilised a multi-donor trust fund of €4m ($4.8m), which will fund circular economy entrepreneurs and initiatives with the potential to be replicated in African nations.

Chido Munyati, acting head of Africa at the World Economic Forum, said: “The World Economic Forum is delighted to build on and strengthen its existing collaboration with the Government of Nigeria with this new partnership.

“The transition to a circular economy will be a crucial part of Nigeria’s global recovery and addressing plastic pollution, in particular, will have a visible impact on its natural environment, quality of life and opportunities for young people.

“Through this partnership, we will see Nigeria make a clear case for why economic growth and sustainable development go hand-in-hand.”