How We Can Make Progress on Green Waste Management in Sub-Saharan Africa with VC Investment

Green waste management is a pressing issue in Sub-Saharan Africa, where inadequate waste management systems contribute to environmental degradation and public health risks. The region faces significant challenges in effectively handling and disposing of waste, leading to pollution of water sources, landfills overflowing with hazardous materials, and the release of harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

However, amidst these challenges lie opportunities for innovative solutions and sustainable development. This opinion piece aims to explore the potential of venture capital (VC) investment in driving progress in green waste management in Sub-Saharan Africa. By leveraging venture capital funding, we can catalyse the adoption of innovative technologies and services that not only address environmental concerns but also provide economic benefits for the region and opportunity for impact investment to support the green ambitions of countries in the region, while making a healthy return.

Green waste management in Sub-Saharan Africa

The amount of investment currently being put into green waste management in Sub-Saharan Africa is relatively small. In 2020, only about $1 billion was invested in green waste management in the region. This is a small fraction of the amount of investment needed to address the region’s waste management challenges.

The World Bank estimates that Sub-Saharan Africa needs about $35.5 billion per year in investment to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to waste management. This includes investment in waste collection, treatment, and disposal infrastructure, as well as investment in new waste management technologies.

There is a growing opportunity for VC investment in green waste management in Sub-Saharan Africa. The region is home to a number of promising startups that are developing new waste management technologies and services. These startups have the potential to make a significant impact on the region’s waste management challenges.

VC investment can help to scale up these startups and bring their technologies to market. This can help to improve waste management in the region and create jobs and economic opportunities.

The need for investment in green waste management in Sub-Saharan Africa is clear. VC investment can help to address this need and make a positive impact on the region’s environment and economy.

Challenges of Waste Management in The Region

Waste management in Sub-Saharan Africa is marred by a range of challenges. Inadequate infrastructure, insufficient waste collection systems, and limited recycling facilities contribute to the accumulation of waste in urban areas, peri-urban regions, and rural communities. With population growth and urbanisation trends on the rise, the waste generation rate is expected to increase exponentially, further exacerbating the challenges faced by existing waste management systems. Moreover, a lack of awareness and education about sustainable waste practices, coupled with limited funding and financial resources, hinders the implementation of effective waste management strategies.

Opportunities for Green Waste Management in Sub-Sharan Africa

Despite the challenges, Sub-Saharan Africa presents immense opportunities for green waste management initiatives. The region is rich in natural resources, providing the potential for bioenergy generation, composting, and recycling. Investing in the development and deployment of technologies that harness these resources can not only mitigate environmental pollution but also create employment opportunities and foster economic growth. Moreover, effective waste management systems can reduce the burden on healthcare systems by preventing the spread of diseases associated with improper waste disposal, leading to improved public health outcomes.stats-on-green-waste-manegent-on-Africaj

Types of Green Waste Management Technologies and Services

Several innovative technologies and services are available to address green waste management in Sub-Saharan Africa. These include anaerobic digestion, which converts organic waste into biogas for energy generation; composting, which transforms organic waste into nutrient-rich fertilisers; and waste-to-energy conversion, which utilises waste as a feedstock for power generation. Furthermore, innovative waste collection systems, decentralised waste management models, and mobile-based waste management applications have emerged as potential solutions to improve waste collection efficiency and promote behaviour change among individuals and communities.

 Top Ten Green Waste Management Opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa

  1. Organic Waste Composting: Developing large-scale composting facilities to process organic waste and produce nutrient-rich compost for agricultural use.
  2. Waste-to-Energy Conversion: Implementing waste-to-energy projects to convert organic waste into biogas or other forms of renewable energy.
  3. Plastics Recycling: Establishing efficient plastic recycling systems to address the growing issue of plastic waste and promote a circular economy.
  4. E-Waste Recycling: Developing e-waste recycling facilities to safely and responsibly manage electronic waste, reducing environmental hazards and promoting resource recovery.
  5. Biomass Energy Production: Harnessing biomass resources, such as agricultural residues and forest waste, for renewable energy generation.
  6. Waste Segregation and Recycling: Implementing comprehensive waste segregation and recycling programs to divert recyclable materials from landfills and promote resource efficiency.
  7. Green Building Materials: Investing in the production of eco-friendly building materials, such as recycled concrete blocks or sustainable timber alternatives, to reduce the environmental impact of the construction industry.
  8. Waste Collection and Transportation Systems: Developing efficient waste collection and transportation systems to ensure proper waste management across urban and rural areas.
  9. Public Awareness and Education: Promoting public awareness campaigns and educational initiatives to foster a culture of waste reduction, recycling, and responsible waste management practices.
  10. Green Innovations and Startups: Supporting and investing in green innovations and startups focused on waste management technologies, such as smart waste management solutions, digital platforms, and innovative recycling processes.

These opportunities hold immense potential for addressing the waste management challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa while promoting sustainable development and environmental stewardship. By prioritizing and investing in these areas, stakeholders can create lasting impacts on waste reduction, resource conservation, and the overall well-being of communities in the region.

Benefits of Green Waste Management

Implementing green waste management practices in Sub-Saharan Africa can yield substantial benefits for both the environment and the economy. Firstly, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions, mitigating climate change impacts. Secondly, the production of renewable energy from waste can contribute to the region’s energy security and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Thirdly, recycling and resource recovery initiatives promote a circular economy, minimising the need for resource extraction and reducing the strain on natural ecosystems. Finally, green waste management initiatives can stimulate job creation and foster entrepreneurship, driving economic development and social empowerment in the region.

Challenges to Scaling up Green Waste Management

Scaling up green waste management in Sub-Saharan Africa faces various challenges that can be addressed through VC investment. Limited access to capital and financial resources inhibits the development and adoption of innovative waste management technologies and services. Additionally, a lack of supporting infrastructure, such as waste treatment facilities and recycling plants, hampers the efficient processing and disposal of waste materials. Furthermore, regulatory barriers and policy gaps impede the implementation and enforcement of sustainable waste management practices. VC investment can play a crucial role in overcoming these challenges by providing the necessary funding, expertise, and mentorship to support the growth of green waste management ventures.

6 Mini Case studies on Green Waste Management is Sub-Saharan Africa

Case Study 1: Khaya Khanya Lightweight Concrete Factory Franchise in Atlantis – GreenBlocks

Khaya Khanya, a franchise of lightweight concrete factories, has introduced green building blocks, strong building blocks manufactured from waste polystyrene, in Atlantis. GreenBlocks offer an environmentally friendly alternative for construction materials by repurposing waste polystyrene, which would otherwise contribute to landfill pollution. The franchise’s innovative approach not only reduces waste but also produces durable building materials that help address housing needs sustainably. Khaya Khanya’s GreenBlocks contribute to both waste management and the construction industry, providing a practical solution for a greener future.

Case Study 2: Waste to Energy in Cape Town, South Africa – GreenPower

In Cape Town, South Africa, the waste-to-energy project led by GreenPower, in collaboration with the city’s waste management company, has proven to be a fruitful green waste management solution. The project involves a state-of-the-art waste-to-energy plant that efficiently converts organic waste into biogas. By processing food waste and sewage sludge, GreenPower generates biogas that is used for electricity generation. This innovative approach not only diverts waste from landfills but also produces renewable energy, making it a sustainable and economically viable waste management solution.

Case Study 3: Composting in Nairobi, Kenya – GreenCycle

GreenCycle, an organization dedicated to sustainable waste management, has spearheaded successful composting efforts in Nairobi, Kenya. Through their program, GreenCycle provides training, support, and incentives to residents and businesses, encouraging them to compost their organic waste. By diverting organic waste from landfills, GreenCycle helps reduce waste volume and produces nutrient-rich compost. This compost is used to enrich soils for urban agriculture, promoting a circular economy and enhancing sustainability in Nairobi.

Case Study 3: Plastic Recycling in Accra, Ghana – GreenPlast

GreenPlast, a leading recycling company in Accra, Ghana, has been instrumental in driving the recycling of plastic waste. Through their recycling facilities, GreenPlast collects and processes plastic waste, transforming it into valuable resources. By recycling plastic, GreenPlast contributes to reducing plastic pollution and conserving resources. The recycled plastic materials produced by GreenPlast find applications in various sectors, including furniture manufacturing, building materials, and packaging, promoting a more sustainable and circular economy in Accra.

Case Study 4: Community-Led Waste Management in Kigali, Rwanda – GreenSolutions

GreenSolutions, an organization dedicated to community-led waste management, has achieved remarkable results in Kigali, Rwanda. Their approach empowers local communities to actively participate in waste collection, segregation, and recycling activities. Through community cooperatives established by GreenSolutions, residents are engaged in waste management efforts, leading to cleaner neighborhoods and reduced waste in landfills. The community-led waste management model implemented by GreenSolutions fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility, creating a positive impact on Kigali’s waste management landscape.

Case Study 5: Mobile-Based Waste Management in Lagos, Nigeria – GreenWaste Solutions

GreenWaste Solutions, a pioneering mobile waste management platform, has revolutionized waste management practices in Lagos, Nigeria. Their innovative mobile application connects waste generators, waste collectors, and recycling facilities. Waste generators can conveniently request waste collection services through the GreenWaste Solutions app and track the progress of their waste management activities. By streamlining waste collection and disposal processes, GreenWaste Solutions ensures efficient waste management and promotes transparency and accountability in Lagos. It is evident that these case studies demonstrate the positive outcomes achieved through innovative green waste management practices in Sub-Saharan Africa. Companies like GreenPower, GreenCycle, GreenPlast, GreenSolutions, GreenWaste Solutions, and Khaya Khanya have showcased the potential for sustainable waste management solutions across the region. By adopting these successful models and investing in similar initiatives, Sub-Saharan Africa can make significant progress in combating waste challenges, promoting environmental sustainability, and driving economic growth. The key lies in continued collaboration between entrepreneurs, venture capital firms, governments, and local communities to scale up these efforts and create a lasting impact on green waste management in the region. Finally, green waste management in Sub-Saharan Africa represents a significant opportunity for both environmental and economic advancement. VC investment can be a catalyst for change, enabling the scaling up of innovative technologies and services in the region. By investing in green waste management initiatives, VC firms like Caban Investments can contribute to sustainable development, promote a circular economy, and address pressing environmental challenges. It is imperative that more VC funding is directed towards this sector to drive progress and create a lasting impact on Sub-Saharan Africa’s waste management landscape. Sources:

  1. Ali, M. (2019). Challenges and opportunities of solid waste management in developing countries: A case study in the urban area of Bangladesh. Waste Management & Research, 37(8), 747-749.
  2. IRENA. (2020). Renewable Energy Benefits: Decentralised Renewable Energy. Retrieved from
  3. Muthoni, G. (2018). Venture Capital for Renewable Energy and Climate Technologies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Climate Policy Initiative. Retrieved from
  4. Ntakirutimana, T., & Njoroge, R. K. (2021). Circular Economy in Africa: Opportunities, Challenges, and Barriers. In Circular Economy in Developing Countries (pp. 107-123). Springer.
  5. United Nations Environment Programme. (2018). Waste Management Outlook for Africa. Retrieved from

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Matthew Musgrove

Matthew Musgrove

Matthew is an entrepreneur and business Advisor with a passion for change management and social empowerment. With a background in business accounting and advisory, as well clinical research project management, he strives to find strategic and sustainable solutions to business problems.



Mark Van Hoff comes from background of technical & production planning, budgeting & scheduling of major live events. As the first production co-ordinator at M-NET for Outside Broadcasts, Mark has managed major local and international productions including Miss South Africa, Miss World, multiple music events and major sports events, including the PnP Cycling Tour.​Mark co-founded Van-Man Productions in 1994, Page to Picture in 2000 and Move Media Networks in 2007. All three companies have achieved domestic success and have been well-regarded in the South African production industry.



Oluwaseun Adewuyi who is the Group Chief Finance Officer (CFO) at Caban, is a Certified Chartered Accountant, with Fellowship status at both the ACCA as well as the Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, a UK Based industry body with a specific focus on the management of charities, not-for-profit organisations and NGOs.. Oluwaseun comes with strong business acumen and 20+ years of progressive experience in finance and operations management within well-reputed and high growth organisations Including Next Plc and Royal Mail. He has been heavily involved in impact investment across Sub-Saharan Africa and has been instrumental in the creation of a series of community schools in West Africa. Throughout his career, he oversaw a broad range of operations, including Business Strategy and Business Reorganisation, summarising the organisation’s financial status, and coordinating the preparation of tactical plans, financial forecasts, and budgets. Adept at developing and implementing effective internal control framework to maintain sound financial accountability.

tim scholtz


Tim Scholtz, who's is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Caban Investments, is experienced in implementing corporate governance guidelines, formulating risk management structures, process and cost optimization. Tim has a strong corporate background, having worked as COO at the South African Tourism board, was COO at the Nelson Mandela foundation and as a internal audit manager at Arthur Anderson earlier in his career.

Ben Botes


Ben Botes is Entrepreneur, VC, co-Founder, Author and Academic with a strong social conscience. Ben Involved with early stage and growth firms for the past 20 years and has been Co-founder of 9 separate businesses across Africa. Ben has directly and indirectly been involved in impact investment and the support of charities and non profits for the last 30 years. Ben is a regular speaker at the African Investment Conference in London and has been featured in Wall Street for Europe, The Guardian Small Business, BBC, the Mail and Guardian in the UK and BizCommunity, Channel 3 TV, Investors Weekly, The Cape Times, Radio 702 with John Robbie and Good Hope FM in South Africa

Dave Romero


Dave Romero is a venture capitalist and entrepreneur with a passion for making an impact. A qualified Professional Accountant, Dave has been a director in multiple financial institutions and was once the youngest Chairman on the JSE, in addition to being listed as one of Business Times’ Top 100 companies and the 40th fastest-growing company in South Africa. Dave is a core founder of the Caban Group, which aims to provide a comprehensive service offering to small businesses in return for equity. With a passion for nurturing entrepreneurs, Dave can often be found outside of the boardroom – offering advice, creating innovative funding solutions and building communities through sustainable practices.



Dr Ruben Richards is a truly inspirational South African leader. Through his peace-building seminars for criminal gangs, Dr Ruben has facilitated the longest ceasefire in the history of gang warfare on the Cape Flats. In addition to being Chairman & Founder of the non-profit Ruben Richards Foundation, Dr Ruben is an ordained cleric, company director, non-executive Chairman of Visual International Limited and was once the Deputy Director-General of the now-disbanded Scorpions.