Background

Industrial revolution followed by the advances in information technology during the last century has radically changed people’s lifestyle. In West Africa, with the liberalization of telecommunications sector and completion through the establishment of modern legal and regulatory structures for telecommunications a common, virile common telecommunications markets, the number of ICT and telecommunications users is increasing.

Today, we have more than 250 millions mobile users in West Africa. In the majority of ECOWAS countries, the penetration rate is more than 100 %.

One of the consequences of the development of the ICT and telecom sector in West Africa is the proliferation of ICT equipment and accessories. This development has not only helped the human race, but also has led to new problems of contamination and pollution bringing another problem in Africa which is the management of electronics waste: E-waste, a new challenge coming from the technological prowess namely the management of E-waste. 

For example, personal computers (PCs) contain certain components, which are highly toxic, such as chlorinated and brominated substances, toxic gases, toxic metals, biologically active materials, acids, plastics and plastic additives.

The hazardous content of these materials poses an environmental and health threat. Thus proper management is necessary while disposing or recycling e-wastes.

With the steady advancement of global technology, people rush to buy latest technology devices such as laptops and mobile phones after disposing their old ones; thus, laying a huge burden on the planet Earth and leading to a new eco disaster in the making.

Being part of the technology speeding-up development, Africa is witnessing a growing number of household using computers and mobile phones subscribers which reached more than 100%.

Africa is also the first destination of developed countries e-wastes.

West Africa is therefore facing the same environmental challenge that the world has recently known – the electronic waste; and must prepare to combat this eminent threat by means of recycling.

In addition, e-waste of developed countries, such as western countries, disposes their wastes to Africa and other developing countries. Africa is today the grave of developed countries e-waste.

Looking for a range of means for e-waste treatment in addition to a number of national and regional initiatives, plans, programmes or strategies for electronic waste management, WATRA would like to establish some regional appropriate management and industries in West Africa.

Justification

Popular and informal name for electronic products at the end of their useful life, E-wastes are considered dangerous, as certain components of some electronic products contain materials that are hazardous, depending on their condition and density.

The hazardous content of these materials pose a threat to human health and environment. Discarded computers, televisions, stereos, copiers, fax machines, electric lamps, cell phones, audio equipment and batteries if improperly disposed can leach lead and other substances into soil and groundwater.

Many of these products can be reused, refurbished, or recycled in an environmentally sound manner so that they are less harmful to the ecosystem.

It is in this perspective that the Assembly of the West African Telecommunications Regulators (WATRA) request and receive grant from Africa Development Bank to conduct a feasibility study for the establishment of e-waste management system in West Africa.

For this purpose, the West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA) Looked and engaged the services of consultant firm to conduct this feasibility study in 2018.

Objectives of the assignment

The key objectives of this assignment are to:

  • Conduct a e-waste environment pollution survey and analysis in West Africa;
  • Propose solutions for e-waste management in West Africa   to ensure that electronic products are recycled in a safe, effective manner, to avoid environment pollution in our region.
  • Conduct technical and marketing study to establish electronics recycling companies whose aim is to provide the opportunity to recycle safely, conveniently and responsibly in West Africa.
  • Make recommendations on initiatives to achieve a sustainable management of e-waste to combat this eminent threat by means of recycling.
  •  Establish the implementation action plan.

Scope of Work

The consultancy firm will conduct a detailed industry and market analysis of e-waste management system within West Africa which would ascertain how to establish industry in order to tackle the e-waste problem to make appropriate recommendations for the implementation of such industry  in West Africa.

Duties and responsibilities of the consultant

Within the above context, the consultant will be required to do the following:

  • Review the current situation of e waste in West Africa including the current treatment mechanism where it exists;
  • Review /develop an appropriate  mechanism that can help to treat e-waste in West Africa ;
  • Benchmark  and review the best practice of e-waste management in other part of Africa and the world in general;
  • Analyse the financial implication of the proposed policy and strategy
  • Presents the findings
  • Make appropriate  recommendations  to ensure they are competitive and  in line with the economic realities in the 15 member states;
  • Develop an implementation plan for WATRA.

After international bidding process concluded by the African Development Bank Group and WATRA a firm has been selected to conduct the study on e-waste.

The study is completed and WATRA is trying to organize a validation workshop in 2019.