As part of efforts to support the promotion of circular economy for food in Rwanda, an SME fund and a multi-stakeholder platform were today launched. Through the SME fund, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will be supported to access technical support to implement successful and sustainable circular business models while the multistakeholder platform will enable and encourage exchanges and dialogues to create a policy environment for institutionalization of stronger collaboration between public, private, and civil society players in advancing the circular economy for agri-food sector in Rwanda. Focused at Kigali, 17th March 2023.
The two were launched as part of the three-year project “Circular Food Systems for Rwanda” which is running from 2021 with the aim to transform Rwanda’s food system and make it more circular and sustainable.
The project is being implemented through a collaboration between national, regional and global partners namely the National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) through the Cleaner Production and Climate Innovation Centre (CPCIC) in Rwanda, the World Resources Institute (WRI), the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE) Secretariat, Resonance, African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA), African Circular Economy Network (ACEN) and is supported by the IKEA Foundation.
Why is circular economy for food relevant?
In Rwanda as elsewhere, food is fundamental to our health, environment, society and economy, but today’s food system is wasteful, resource-intensive and sometimes polluting. A third of food is lost or wasted while many go hungry! Moreover, food waste and derivatives are landfilled or incinerated.
Through applying circular economy for food, the project will support to ensure that to ensure that the food is produced in ways that regenerate nature, reduce the food that is lost and wasted, and the commonly wasted resources will be used productively.
Circular Food Systems for Rwanda aims to put these principles into practice in Rwanda by supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to adopt circular business models, and creating an enabling policy environment to catalyze system transformation. SMEs will also be supported for market linkages for design and commercialization of circular agri-food value chains in Rwanda.
The fund will be open to SMEs operating in the food sector in Rwanda that are driving progress towards circular economy. SMEs can be involved in any stage of the food system including agricultural inputs, production, storage, processing, packaging or distribution of food.
SMEs to be supported may work in any agricultural value chain, but priority will be given to horticulture, grains, aquaculture, and livestock value chains as well as circular innovations that can be applied across the food system.
Rwanda is among the most advanced countries in Africa in the circular economy transition. This is due to the fact for almost two decades, Rwanda has put environment and climate change at the heart of its transformation journey. Environment and climate are currently at the center of policies, programmes, plans and initiatives to ensure sustainable development. In Rwanda, circular economy is a strategy to achieve green growth and is a way to tackle climate change.