Friday, 19 April 2013

UNIDO helping Ethiopia to tackle e-waste

ADDIS ABABA, 19 April 2013 – As one of the countries in Africa with the highest growth rate, Ethiopia is bound to expand its consumption of electrical and electronic equipment, known as e-waste.

According to a recent paper by Öko-Institut and PAN-Ethiopia, while e-waste in Ethiopia is still relatively small (there are an estimated 4,300 tonnes of non-functioning computers, televisions, mobile phones and refrigerators), there are signs that e-waste is being “disposed of in an uncontrolled manner”.

To tackle e-waste before it becomes a major issue, the Government of Ethiopia has joined the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Solving the E-waste Problem (StEP) Initiative, the United Nations University, Nokia and Dell, amongst others, to implement a two-year-long project, co-financed by the Global Environment Facility. The project will scale up activities that both prevent and manage e-waste, providing the country with the technical, legal and administrative capacity to handle it in a socially and environmentally sound manner.

The joint project will also support the development and adoption of environmentally sound business models, policies, processes and technologies, and will upgrade the existing centres for computer refurbishment and training in Akaki, in south Addis Ababa.

By extending the lifecycle of electrical and electronic equipment, particularly personal computers, the initiative will give micro, small and medium-sized enterprises access to affordable hardware, boosting their income and generating further employment.

In order to promote sustainable long-term solutions for Ethiopia and the region, the project will also establish linkages with neighbouring countries.

Cooperation across East Africa will be necessary to treat as much e-waste as possible within the region and to join forces by connecting the dismantling facilities to international smelters in order to recover precious metals.

The project was announced at the National Open E-waste Stakeholder Forum in Addis Ababa, which brought together representatives of Ethiopian small and medium-sized enterprises, non-governmental organizations, private sector institutions, government officials, international organizations and civil society to plan how to deal with the rapid growth in e-waste.

For more information, please contact:

Smail Alhilali
Industrial Development Officer
+43 26026 3363

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