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SECRETARIAT OF THE BASEL CONVENTION (SBC) E-WASTE AFRICA PROJECT - "BUILDING LOCAL CAPACITY TO ADDRESS THE FLOW OF E-WASTES AND ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC PRODUCTS DESTINED FOR RE-USE IN SELECTED AFRICAN COUNTRIES AND AUGMENT THE SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF RESOURCES THROUGH THE RECOVERY OFMATERIALS IN E-WASTES".

In 2005, the Basel Action Network (BAN) of USA produced a film titled "The Digital Dump: Exporting Re-Use and Abuse to Africa". This was done with active participation of the Basel Convention Coordinating Center for the African Region (BCCC-Africa). It was reported that about half a million used computers came in through the Lagos Ports every month. Out of these,45  were imported from Europe, 45% from the United States of America and 10% from other countries.Furthermore, only 25 % of the imports were functional while the remaining 75% were junk or e-scrap.

Ghana and Nigeria have featured prominently in international print and electronic media in recent years as dumping ground for e-waste from Europe and USA. In reaction to the adverse media publicity, the European Union (EU) responded by commissioning the Secretariat of Basel Convention (SBC) E-waste Africa Project in 2009.

The overall objective of the project is to equip Africa to be able to tackle the growing problem of e-waste, including imports coming from Europe and the developed world, and thereby protect the health of citizens particularly children while providing economic opportunities resulting in less impact on environment and human health from the handling of e-waste and equipment in countries covered.

Specifically the project aimed to:

  • Improve the level of information available on flows of EEE and e-waste imported into West Africa
  • Assess the baseline situation in terms of the amounts of EEE imports, EEE in use and e-waste and environmental impacts of the e-waste sector
  • Study the social-economic aspects of the increasing volumes of used EEE and e-waste
  • Strengthen national capacities to monitor and control transboundary movements of e-waste
  • Cooperation between African countries and the adoption of a regional approach (e.g. ECOWAS) supporting environmentally sound management of e-waste as well as control of illegal traffic in West and Central Africa appears to be important in pursuing the solution to e-waste in Africa.


The goal of the project is to enhance environmental governance in selected seven African countries namely: Benin, Egypt, Ghana, and Cote D'lvoire, Liberia, Nigeria and Tunisia. The focus of the project was not limited to Africa, two European countries with port facilities namely: Netherlands and Belgium were also part of the study in order to understand the flow of materials through transboundary movements from Europe to Africa. Adequate stakeholders engagement was assured in each of the participating African countries by setting up E-waste Strategy Group (comprising Environment Customs, Health, Transport, Industry, etc.) as well as local associations and relevant national technical institutions and academia.

BCCC- Africa served as the African regional coordinator in the project. The project commenced in October 2009 and ended in April 2012.The e-waste Africa project was made up of four components, namely.

  • Component 1: Fact finding study on flows in used and end-of-life e-equipment imported into West Africa by land and by sea, in particular from European countries.
  • Component 2: E-waste country assessments in three pilot countries and preparation of national Environmentally Sound Management (ESM) plans.
  • Component 3: Informal sector study-socioeconomic impacts in one country(Nigeria); (although the project design did not include Ghana for socio-economic impact assessment, the government of Netherlands requested and funded socio-economic impact assessment for Ghana)
  • Component 4: Monitoring and control of transboundary movements of e-wastes and used e-equipment to Africa and the prevention of illegal traffic in five African countries namely: Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt and Tunisia, with BCCC-Africa as Regional Coordinator.


The international and regional partners institutions that carried out the project were Basel Convention Coordinating Center (BCCC-Africa) in Nigeria, Basel Convention Regional Center in Senegal, and Basel Convention Regional Center in Egypt, EMPA (the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology), and IMPEL (the European Union Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law), and the Oeko-Institute (Institute for Applied Ecology). The overall coordination of the project was by the Secretariat of Basel Convention, Geneva.

Governance

On inauguration of a Steering Committee, the Centre will be governed by a Steering Committee made up of the Directors of the Basel Convention Regional Centers in the African region, representatives of the Federal Government of Nigeria, one  member  state  representative  from  each  of  the  Basel  Convention  Regional Centres

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The Pan-African Forum on e-Waste

The Pan-African Forum on E-waste was held in in UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, from 12 to 16 March 2012. The forum was a follow up to the recently concluded E-Waste Africa Project.

Read more about the forum