Rwanda launches state-of-the-art E-Waste Recycling Facility during Green Growth Week

Rwanda has officially launched a world class e-waste dismantling and recycling facility with the capacity to process more than 7,000 tonnes of electrical and electronic waste every year. The facility is the second of its kind in Africa and represents Rwanda’s strong commitment to green growth and sustainable development.

The facility was launched by Rwanda’s Minister of Environment, Vincent Biruta, in a ceremony at the plant, which is located in Bugesera District in Rwanda’s Eastern Province.

Arriving at the facility, guests were welcomed by Mayor Nsanzumuhire and were briefed about the facility’s role in environment protection and improving lives. The introduction was followed by the launch of the facility and learning more about the facility’s operations from the Manager, Olivier Mbera.

Ministers and guests toured the facility to observe how electronic waste is collected, dismantled, and also repaired. Part of the tour demonstrated where discarded electronic materials are taken for refurbishment or recycling – one example of how Rwanda is fostering the circular economy.

As part of the launch event, the facility donated 220 refurbished computers to 11 schools located across Rwanda. These computers will help students in their academic tasks and this local production fosters the Made in Rwanda movement.

Samuel Murindahabi, a student from Groupe Scolaire Officiel Catholique de Gasabo, expressed his gratitude to partners of the facility for the computers.

“It’s good to be here and I thank the people who made it possible. We have few computers at school but these are coming to help us be more productive. I will gain much knowledge and plan to develop my own software,” Samuel said.

Speaking to guests at the facility, Minister Munyeshyaka stressed that the e-waste facility is essential for human well-being. He also acknowledged the Rwanda Green Fund for the impactful investment in the facility.

“How gadgets are disposed is of great importance as it affects our health and environment,” Minister Munyeshyaka said. “I take this opportunity to thank the Rwanda Green Fund and the Ministry of Environment for having financially and technically accepted to support the e-waste management project and for their tremendous efforts towards a green and climate resilient Rwanda,” the Minister added.

Attending the event, Hanane Hafraoui, Low Carbon Development Adviser at DFID Rwanda, which supports the Rwanda Green Fund said:

“DFID is very proud to support Rwanda’s national Green Fund investments in structures like Bugesera’s new e-waste recycling facility. Our contribution will enable Rwanda to dispose safely of hazardous electronic waste, ensure financially sustainable recycling of electronic equipment in the country, and support Rwanda’s laudable path towards a green economy.”

The CEO of the Rwanda Green Fund, Hubert Ruzibiza, said that new facility represents the kind of impact the fund can have by investing in innovative solutions to the country’s environmental challenges.

“The fund is here as a catalyser for all green projects in Rwanda. The e-waste facility is a great example of public-private partnership and what the Rwanda Green Fund can achieve,” Mr Ruzibiza said.

The Guest of Honour, Minister Biruta, said the facility is a tangible demonstration of Rwanda’s sustainable development.

“The e-waste facility that has been constructed here in Bugesera is testament to the clear vision that Rwanda has for its development – clean and green growth. With the goal to be a developed, climate resilient and low carbon economy by 2050, this facility has already become an example of what’s possible, not just across the continent but around the world.” Minister Biruta said.

The launch of the e-waste facility was part of the 2017 Rwanda Green Growth Week – a week dedicated to promote an environmentally friendly economy, and that takes place from from 4-8 December 2017.

At the event, Minister Biruta was accompanied by Vincent Munyeshyaka, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Fred Mufuluke, the Governor of Eastern Province, Emmanuel Nsanzumuhire, Mayor of Bugesera District, Hubert Ruzibiza, CEO of the Rwanda Green Fund, Coletha Ruhamya, DG of the Rwanda Environment Management Authority, Janvier Gasana, Director General of the Rwanda Education Board, and Hanane Hafraoui representing DFID, among dignitaries from the private and public sectors.

About the Facility

As Rwanda positions itself as a leader in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the region, there has been an increase in the use of electronic equipment such as laptops, televisions, computers and smartphones. This, paired with high consumer demand for the latest gadgets, has led to significant growth in e-waste. In response, the Government of Rwanda, through the Ministry of Trade, went about solving this problem in partnership with the Rwanda Green Fund. The result is the Rwanda E-Waste Recycling and Dismantling Facility.

The Rwanda E-waste Recycling project began in 2014 with a US $1.5 million (Rwf 1.26 billion) investment by the Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA) to develop a national e-waste management strategy. Thanks to the fund’s investment, Rwanda has now established an e-waste recycling facility that has refurbished 400 computers. The facility has the capacity to employ more than 1,000 people – making it the second state of art e-waste dismantling and recycling facility in Africa.

Launch Event Photos Launch of the Rwanda E-Waste Recycling Facility - 4 December 2017