Nurturing ‘The Human Side’ of the Circular Economy

“Nurturing ‘The Human Side’ of the Circular Economy” by the African Circular Economy Network (ACEN)” by the African Circular Economy Network (ACEN)

Despite being an increasingly important supplier of many mineral and metal resources to Global North countries, Africa is not always included in discussions concerning the development of Circular Economy (CE) strategies and solutions. Consequently, the current focus in developed countries of CE policy making and action is strongly centered around disruptive “product redesign” which is likely to have little impact in Africa where local product development remains limited to date.

Africa’s CE solutions need to factor in a fast-growing population that can meaningfully contribute to the development of local CE inspired product design, manufacturing and supply solutions. These should be built with access to appropriate technologies and emphasise labor-intensive operational practices as part of nurturing “Humansphere” based activities.  Fair-trade export opportunities for African produce and resources must extend beyond food.  Additionally, Africa needs to develop its future CE core competency through a diverse and specially skilled service sector society for globally competitive remanufacturing, repair and refurbishment of products based on “technical nutrients”.

African traditional lifestyles have always been much less resource intensive and wasteful than those of their counterparts in the North. The model of a sharing economy does not have to be invented but rather remembered again because Africa remains a rich tapestry of powerful and daily lived CE examples. The can avoid the danger of a modern industrial “linear lock-in” as commonly observed in the Global North. As such one of Africa’s contributions to the global CE debate is to introduce the dimension of human embedded “knowledge and experience” to the current understanding and scope of what CE can deliver on.

Workshop Description

This workshop provides a comprehensive introduction into the vision and workings of the African Circular Economy Network (ACEN) ( through unique African CE case study outcomes; it will also explain the reasoning behind the human-embedded CE model  and explores the main leverage points that are required to unlock its full potential.

Workshop Co-presenters:  

Susanne Yvonne Karcher (ACEN Co-Founder):

Alexandre Lemille (ACEN Co-Founder):

ACEN Website: