African countries encouraged to include the issue of urban mining into their resource policies

Addis Addis Ababa, 22 October 2012. The African Development Forum (ADF) has encouraged African countries to take action in supporting the development and enforcement of integrated resource policies and legislation for primary and urban mining (in particular e-waste). This was the result of a pre-event on “Urban Mining, Challenges and Opportunities for Africa”, organised by the World Resources Forum, Empa and Hewlett-Packard. The ADF recommends to promote synergies between primary and urban mining where appropriate, as a means to spur socio-economic development and facilitate market access for the resulting commodities.                                           

Industry representatives: Mesfin Makonnen, Managing Director of HP Ethiopia, Herve Guilcher, Environmental Director, HP EMEA and Karim Hirji, Dell Central East Africa

The pre-ADF event was attended by 40 participants from Belgium, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, Ireland, Kenya, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Poland, Rwanda, Switzerland, Uganda, UK, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The attendees were representatives of electronic industry, governmental and environmental agencies, international organizations, recycling companies and NGOs.



ADF group picture

Workshop participants, after the event

The workshop aimed at discussing issues related to the sustainable management of urban mines, with a focus on synergies between the primary mining industry and opportunities given by secondary materials from e-waste. The meeting was divided into two parts. During the first part, introduction and key note presentations, the two main areas policies and standards for primary and urban mining were explored through keynotes from experts in the field. The following persons gave presentations:

  • Feedback from Pan-African Forum “Call for Action”& AMCEN-14, Betty Nzioka (Kenya)
  • Policy development for e-waste recycling in Nigeria, Ngeri Benebo (Nigeria)
  • Policy development for e-waste recycling in Kenya,Benjamin Langwen (Kenya)
  • National policies for mineral resources in Africa –example Nigeria, Ihuoma Ekeh (Nigeria)
  • The Importance of Standards in Electronic Waste Management, Pascal Leroy (European WEEE Forum)
  • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in the context of Africa, Jean Cox-Kearns (Dell)
  •  E-waste recycling under the Basel Convention: new developments, Katharina Kummer Peiry


The main points of the presentations, including the chair’s discussion, were: the fact, that there are important synergies between primary and urban mining, especially in the discussed issues policies, standards and infrastructure; the recognition of urban mining as an opportunity; the need to put in place regulatory and institutional frameworks; the necessity of setting and monitoring technical standards for e-waste recycling; the need to build partnerships between producers, recyclers, consumers, government and academia; the need for capacity building; and the exploration of a regional framework for e-waste policies, standards and infrastructure.

The second part of the workshop was the panel debate. This part was highly interactive, the participants were taking part in the dialogue, asking questions and discussing with the experts. There were interesting interventions and different points of view about the opportunities urban mining offers, but there was a common agreement that each country should find its own model, while exploring a regional solution.

 Dr. Benebo during her presentation

Recommendations of the workshop include:

  • The importance of developing integrated resource policies for both primary and urban mining;
  • The importance of having an African standard assessment and regional framework tailored to African market in order to address the environmental and social issues and ensure a level playing field in both, primary and urban mining; this includes the identification of recyclers that implement good practices;
  • The need for the development of institutional capacity in African countries to deal with e-waste and maximize benefits from urban mining;
  • The development of infrastructure for primary and urban mining in Africa and the exploration of synergies for common use of infrastructure in both sectors;
  • Facilitation of access to global markets for the commodities resulting from both primary and urban mining;
  • The inclusion of the informal sector into formal management systems;
  • The importance of stakeholder involvement at both national and regional level to enable harmonized and efficient solutions for Africa;
ADF logo

The ADF, an Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) flagship biennial event created in 1999, is a multi-stakeholder platform for debating, discussing and initiating concretestrategies for Africa’s development.

The Forum brings together a large number of participants including Heads of State and Government, African member State policymakers, development partners, other United Nations agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental
organizations (IGOs/NGOs), academia, practitioners, civil society organizations (CSOs), the private sector, eminent policy and opinion leaders and other concerned stakeholders.ewaste The Forum includes plenary and high-level parallel panel sessions as well as side-events featuring keynote/lead speakers and presenters, media representatives and other participants.

Urban mining is the process to recover the compounds and materials  from products which have reached their end of life. The concept is often referred to as recycling of waste. Urban mining as such is an alternative to the extraction of resources from geological deposits (“primary mining”) for the production of goods and infrastructure (find more information here).

Full report about our ADF workshop in Addis Ababa has been published. Please find it here

Pictures from the meeting are available on the WRF Facebook site:

You may also read about our workshop in the ADF newsletter

For more information write to or visit ADF/UNECA webpage