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Ministry for Foreign Affairs brought together African and Finnish circular economy experts in Helsinki

The aim of these events was to promote relations between Finland and African countries

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HELSINKI, Finland, June 20, 2023/ — The World Circular Economy Forum sought solutions to problems that are crucial to Earth’s carrying capacity: climate change, the consumption of materials, biodiversity loss and pollution. The Forum strengthened cooperation between Finnish and African actors.

Organised in Helsinki by Sitra and its partners, the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF2023) was attended in person by more than 1,500 participants from various parts of the world. Over 120 African participants attended the event in person.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs continued the excellent WCEF cooperation with African actors that began in 2019. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs brought together representatives of African and Finnish authorities and actors from the expert and business sectors in various side events, networking events and the African Voices seminar.

The aim of these events was to promote relations between Finland and African countries, build up Africa’s role in the circular economy and provide a highly visible platform for Finnish and African financing providers and business sector entities. The events strengthened existing relationships and established new networks between African and Finnish individuals and organisations to enable productive future cooperation in the circular economy sector.

Side events addressed forest sector and secondary use of raw materials, among others

The Finnish Embassies in Tanzania, Egypt and Namibia organised side events connected to the World Circular Economy Forum to address key circular economy issues for each country in collaboration between private and public sector entities as well as academic communities. The event in Tanzania, for example, addressed the forest sector as its main theme, while the event in Egypt was focused on the secondary use of raw materials, among other topics.

In Accelerator Sessions organised by WCEF partners, the themes from the main forum were linked to practical circular economy action. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs supported the African Voices seminar held on 1 June 2023, hosted by the African Circular Economy Network (ACEN), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA). The seminar was funded by the African Circular Economy Facility (ACEF), which of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is one of its key funding providers.

Socially sustainable and fair business activity needed in Africa

The seminar highlighted Africa’s significant circular economy potential as a continent with a young population and a high level of innovation. It was also noted that circularity is strengthened through local, national and international cooperation, creativity and determination, which depend on the local citizens as well as the business sector, the research community and political decision-makers. The seminar emphasised that circular economy refers to socially sustainable and fair business activity, which is both a precondition and a tremendous opportunity for international trade on the African continent.

The next World Circular Economy Forum will be held in Brussels in spring 2024.

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