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Rwanda announces opening of new Rwf1.2 billion e-waste recycling facility

The state-of-the-art facility capable of dismantling and recycling end-of-life electronic and electrical equipment will be the first such facility in Rwanda.

The Rwf1.2 billion electronic waste recycling facility in Bugesera District, Rwanda is nearing completion and is slated to open towards the end of this month. The state-of-the-art facility capable of dismantling and recycling end-of-life electronic and electrical equipment will be the first such facility in Rwanda. According to sources, the final works on the plant are in progress. Olivier Mbera, the programme manager of the project stated that installation activities are already completed. The trial run of machinery and equipment and training to technicians are underway.

The project titled “National e-waste Management Strategy for Rwanda to Support the Establishment of Sustainable Recycling Industries” is being implemented under the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM). It was funded mainly by National Climate Change and Environment Fund (FONERWA), and also by other agencies including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Rwanda Development Board.

As part of the project, collection centres are being set up in the districts of Huye, Nyabihu and Bugesera to collect waste from the neighboring districts. Each district will have its own collection centre, from where the collected materials will be transported to the recycling plant. The centres will be managed by private sector. The centres will be linked to the main dismantling facility. Also, centres will be authorized to ship e-waste that cannot be processed in Rwanda or other African facilities to certified e-waste recycling facilities out of the continent.

The facility will process a wide range of electrical and electronic equipment including personal computers, printers, mobile phones, photocopying machines, refrigerators, air conditioners, televisions, washing machines, car batteries, dry cell batteries, stabilizers and electric cooking stoves. Incidentally, Rwanda generates between 10,000 and 15,000 tonnes of e-waste every year. The e-waste generation by the country is estimated to grow at a CAGR rate of nearly 6%. The project is expected to generate green jobs, especially to special interest groups like women, youth and people with disabilities.

According to Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), the new plant will offer solution to environmental challenges caused by unhealthy disposal practices of electronic waste that contain hazardous materials harmful human health and environment. The Authority will monitor the activities once the facility becomes operational and also provide necessary technical guidance, said Remy Duhuze, the director of environment regulations and pollution control unit at REMA. The Institution has already advised districts to plan for communal landfills.

Recently, the East African Community (EAC) member nations-Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan had decided to join hands in their fight to tackle growing e-waste in the region. In addition to several countries launching their own initiatives to promote responsible recycling of electronic waste, a Regional E-waste Management Committee was formed with representatives from all six member nations.


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