AFRICA – British investment bank HSBC has approved US$30 million in green financing for Averda, a Lebanese company specializing in waste management and recycling, to support the adoption of circular practices in waste management in Africa.

Averda received the funds following the refinancing of its US$148 million term loan. 

“The refinancing, which replaces the previous term loan that was due to expire in 2023, was secured for a five-year term with a coupon of 4.5% from the six-bank syndicate of First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), Bank ABC, Gulf International Bank (GIB), Citi and Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD),” Averda said.

In South Africa, the new investment will support Averda’s project to convert liquid hazardous waste into alternative fuel for the cement industry.

The waste comes from ArcelorMittal’s facilities in the industrial towns of Vereeniging and Vanderbijlpark in Gauteng province and covers an area of 92 km2 and is located near the Vlakfontein hazardous waste site.

In 2019, the subsidiary of global steel giant ArcelorMittal signed a three-year contract with Averda. “Producing such a fuel from waste is no mean feat and requires considerable investment to comply with the new Waste Classification and Management Regulations, introduced by Pretoria in 2019, which places responsibility on the waste sector to safely dispose of hydrocarbon-based materials in landfill sites,” says the Dubai (United Arab Emirates) based company.

Averda is also present in other countries in Africa, including Morocco, where it has been managing waste in Tangier since February 2019.

The contract, signed for a period of 20 years, provides for an investment of over US109.2 million.

Africa is also faced with heavy pollution from waste and wastewater, which threatens the sustainability of its environment and in this context, the circular economy appears to be the essential solution to contribute to the preservation of the environment.

According to World Bank’s 2020 “Waste Treatment Report”, 174 million tonnes of waste (on average) are produced annually in Africa and the amount is expected to triple by 2050, as Africa is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world.

Yet this waste is a resource that is not sufficiently exploited on the continent.

 Organic waste produced by households and farms can be used to produce energy via biogas from methanisation.

Digestate from the fermentation of organic waste can be used as fertilizer for agriculture while plastic waste can be granulated and reused as secondary raw material.

The circular economy is becoming increasingly important in the debate on environmental preservation in Africa.

This model with a systemic vision of society aims to produce goods and services while greatly limiting the consumption and waste of raw materials and non-renewable energy sources.

According to the African Ministers’ Conference on the Environment, the circular economy ensures a complete and virtuous cycle: products and materials are recycled, repaired, renovated, or reused so that a by-product or waste from one economic process becomes an input for another.

Thus, the circular economy differs from the traditional linear production system of take, make, consume and discard.

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