Digital innovations for transitioning to circular plastic value chains in Africa

Muyiwa Oyinlola, Patrick Schröder, Timothy Whitehead, Oluwaseun Kolade, Kutoma Wakunuma, Soroosh Sharifi, Barry Rawn, Victor Odumuyiwa, Selma Lendelvo, Geoff Brighty , Bosun Tijani, Tomi Jaiyeola, Lukonga Lindunda, Radhia Mtonga, Soroush Abolfathi

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The paper analyzes the current state of plastic value chains in Africa and the potential of digital innovations adopted by African entrepreneurs to contributing to a circular plastic economy. We provide an overview of plastic waste trade to African countries and an assessment of existing digital solutions that can support the transition to a circular plastic economy. The findings show that various digital innovations are being applied by entrepreneurs including web-based solutions, mobile apps and 3D printing. The case studies also show that multinational companies, especially consumer facing brands, are major players in the national plastic value chains in African countries, acting as seed funders for start-ups as well as buyers of recycled plastics. Current initiatives that are underway are positive signs that changes are in progress to address the environmental and social impacts of plastics value chains in Africa. However, to achieve a transition to sustainable circular value chains, changes at policy level will be required to enable scaling-up of local start-up businesses, address regulatory barriers to digital solutions, create markets for recycled plastic materials and implement extended producer responsibility regulations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAfrica Journal of Management
Early online date26 Dec 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Dec 2021


  • Business and International Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Strategy and Management


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