Event to highlight challenge and opportunity of Africa’s growing population

29th March 2013

By: Gia Costella


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Sewage and effluent comprise an important aspect of the waste industry and constitute a growing challenge in Africa and other developing nations, given rapid population growth and increased urbanisation, as well as limited related infrastructure, Wastex Africa director Septi Bukula tells Engineering News.

The inaugural 2013 Wastex Africa, will discuss government and industry policy, measures and methods to improve the management of sewage, effluent and waste collection, as well as the reuse and management thereof to reduce the amount of waste entering sewerage systems, reducing health and environmental risks, says Bukula.

He states that the event, organised by entrepreneurship and small business development policy and programme advisory services provider Osiba Management, will comprise an exhibition and a conference, the Waste Indaba, and is modelled on similar successful events held worldwide.

“The Waste Indaba is a platform for various waste-industry players to exchange ideas, practices and innovations on how the waste industry is responding to the challenges associated with the growing amount of waste in Africa and its impact on human health and the environment.”

Bukula says the conference aims to change people’s negative view of waste and help establish a view that waste is a valuable economic resource.

“The waste industry is estimated to be worth more than €300-billion worldwide and is continuously growing. It offers business growth and new entrepreneurial opportunities. The Waste Indaba will discuss strategies, initiatives, new technologies and business models to increase the contribution the waste industry is making to national economic growth, entrepreneurship promotion and job creation.

“The exhibition will showcase industry products, solutions and innovations aimed at improv- ing resource efficiency and environmental sustainability,” he explains.

Bukula says the overall goal of the event, which takes place at the Gallagher Convention Centre, in Midrand, Gauteng, from May 29 to 31, is to provide a forum for industry role-players like policymakers, researchers and businesses to discuss all matters pertinent to developing the industry and its positive economic contribution, while forging new business relationships and deepening existing ones across the continent.

“We expect about 200 exhibitors and up to 300 delegates at the Waste Indaba, as well as between 4 000 and 6 000 visitors to the expo. The event is being marketed throughout the continent; therefore, we expect representation from several African countries. Attendees will represent the entire waste value chain – from generation, collection and transportation to recycling, recovery and disposal – on a government and private-sector level,” he says, highlighting the need to increase the role of the private-sector throughout the waste cycle by developing public–private partnerships.

Bukula says attendees can expect to be exposed to new and existing industry products and solutions, as well as to business practices that increase productivity and competitiveness by improving resource efficiency. They can also expect to learn about local and international policies shaping the business environment.

“This is an opportunity for entrepreneurs looking for business opportunities in this large and growing industry and for established players looking for growth opportunities in South Africa and on the continent.”

Highlights include keynote speeches by UK-based industry organisation Waste and Resources Action Programme CEO Dr Liz Goodwin on the topic of a closed-loop economy, and the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa president Diedre Nxumalo-Freeman, who will speak at the opening session.

“There will also be government speakers who are yet to be confirmed from the South African Local Government Association and various industry bodies, such as the Packaging Council of South Africa, the eWaste Association of South Africa, Plastics South Africa and the National Recycling Forum,” says Bukula, who adds that the Gallagher Convention Centre was chosen as the venue not only for its size and suitability, but also for its ability to present a green event through waste reduction, energy efficiency, water conservation and ensuring the procurement of goods and services is done in a sustainable manner.

“This is important, given Osiba Management’s Event Greening Forum membership and our commitment to contributing to the reduction of the negative environmental impact across the economy,” he states.

Bukula notes that the company has been overwhelmed by the support it has received from the industry for the inaugural Wastex Africa in the form of endorsements and the number of companies that are in the process of securing exhibiting space, as well as prominent industry players who have offered to speak at the conference.

“Leading up to the event, we are focusing on increasing participation by promoting the event in and outside South Africa. In Nigeria, we have appointed a marketing representative to increase participation from West Africa,” he adds.

Bukula says, in future, the com- pany plans to continue to develop and position Wastex Africa as a prominent yearly industry event.

Edited by Tracy Hancock
Creamer Media Contributing Editor



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