Conversations with CoM SSA | African cities take control of waste management

Published: 6 Aug 2021
Adaptation Conversations with CoM SSA Events
Conversations with CoM SSA | African cities take control of waste management

CoM SSA signatories and industry experts exchange lessons and experiences while building relationships to strengthen and encourage innovation in the waste sector.  


Key point 1: Challenges facing local governments 

  • Waste separation is essential for waste to be used as a resource but due to the small number of sorting and recycling centers, it is not always possible.  

  • When waste is not managed well it results in littering and dumping and can cause blocked drainage systems which leads to flooding in some areas. In some areas, one of the impacts of climate change is increased risk of rainfall and subsequent flooding. It is therefore urgent to ensure a better waste management to avoid increasing the risk of flooding.  

  • Few municipalities have institutional and strategic capacities to conduct waste management and private sector waste management services are often only available to affluent communities. There is a general lack of budget to fund waste management as few partners are interested in investing and supporting cities with waste management projects.  

  • There are multi-governance issues, between municipalities and the national government, around responsibility and allocation of funds for effective waste management.


Mr Ndiaga Fall, Pikine, Senegal: “Waste management was under the mandate of the national government then was transferred to local authorities and then transferred again several times which illustrates the complexity of the problem" 

Key point 2: Best practices shared 

  • Involvement of communities in sorting and managing waste is beneficial.  

  • Public-private partnerships working with existing waste management strategies has proven to be an effective method.  

  • Community sensitisation and enforcement of restrictions on dumping is key to minimising pollution.  

  • Local government should partner with local associations or NGOs for waste collection. Delegating a public service like waste management to a private or another public entity is a one way to sort out the problem.  


Mr Mitiku Woldesenbet, Senior Architect and Urban Designer-Public Space at UN-Habitat: “The involvement of communities is key with regards to waste management… even two years later, these public spaces are still clean” 


Key point 3: Success stories from CoM SSA local governments 

  • Rehabilitation of public open space in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and creation of a plastic-free park. Read more about the Global UN-Habitat programme here.  

  • Partnerships between the local authority and an NGO for improving waste management and youth employment in Oti 1, Togo.  

  • Pilot of partnerships between private sector innovators, communities and informal waste pickers in Cape Town, read more here.  

  • In Tchaoudjo 1 in Togo, an association in charge of waste management is conducting sensitization at the local schools to raise awareness and learn to sort waste to children.  


Essossinam Keteche, Municipality of Tchaoudjo, Togo: "Selective sorting experience in schools: it is the children who are the actors in sorting the waste.”  

Questions/comments/feedback is welcome and should be directed to the Technical Helpdesk: technicalhelpdesk@comssa.org 



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