Morocco hosts international dialogue on pan-African collaboration to end plastic pollution

Published date

In response to the escalating challenges posed by plastic pollution, an international dialogue was hosted in Rabat, Morocco, this week to explore how African nations can better work together to end plastic pollution. In particular, the dialogue explored the merits of developing a pan-African standard for recycled PET. The workshop was co-organized by the Switch to Circular Economy Value Chains (SWITCH2CE) project, the African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA) and COVAD, in partnership with the Moroccan Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development,

The continent's increasing demand for plastics has significantly impacted climate, biodiversity, and pollution, with only 6% of plastic waste currently being recycled, well below the global average of 9%. This poses extensive costs for clean-up, public health, and the tourism industry, emphasizing the need to reduce virgin plastics production and prevent plastic leakage into the environment.

Diverse stakeholders at the dialogue (industry experts and government representatives from Morocco, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Europe) identified the need for ambitious regional and global measures to address the issue, highlighting increased production and use of recycled plastics, particularly recycled packaging plastics such as PET (rPET), as a promising solution.

Expressing concern over limited regulations for food-contact rPET in Africa, attendees emphasized the urgency for standards. Some African nations, including South Africa and Nigeria, have launched their rPET standards, with Ghana and Morocco in the process of upgrading theirs. The EU and the US are also strengthening their standards to regulate rPET production, particularly for food contact packaging.

At the continental level, the African Standards Organisation is developing an rPET standard for food contact (CD-ARS 1721-2023), set to launch soon.

“Our collaborative efforts in Rabat signify a milestone in Africa's journey towards sustainability. By initiating a vital dialogue on establishing a pan-African standard for recycled PET, we're not just tackling the plastic pollution crisis; we're paving the way for a greener, more resilient future. This is a testament to our shared commitment to protect our environment and foster a circular economy across the continent.” Stated Mohamed El Bouchraya, National Coordinator, SWITCH2CE, UNIDO.

For Mounir El Bari, President of COVAD “South-South cooperation, along with the active participation of African organizations and institutions, forms a pivotal element in our strategic roadmap as a Coalition. We aim to foster a green and inclusive circular economy through collective endeavours. It's a matter of pride for us to have such a significant presence of experts and representatives from our neighbouring countries at this Moroccan workshop, underscoring our commitment to regional collaboration and sustainable development."

The dialogue was deemed timely, emphasizing the need for global coordination on plastic waste. The learnings will contribute to the International Negotiating Committee negotiations to end plastic pollution, and to a report by Chatham House and ACEA on the merits and challenges of a pan-African rPET standard, scheduled for release later this year.

SWITCH2CE, ACEA, and COVAD express their profound gratitude to all the distinguished speakers and esteemed experts whose invaluable contributions were contributed to the success and enrichment of this Pan-African workshop.

  • Rabiaa Janati Idrissi, representative of the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Morocco
  • Seloua Amaziane, reprensentative of the Ministry of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development in Morocco
  • MEKKI KABBAJ, Head of Standardization Department Alessia Gaetani (Project
  • Oliver Boachie, Senior Advisor to Ghana Minister, Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation
  • Dr. Ganiyat Adebayo, Assistant Director/Group Head, Environmental Standards, Standards Organisation of Nigeria
  • Annabe Pretorius, Executive Technical Operations at South Africa Standards Authority (SANAS 1548-1:2017) [Online]
  • Manager CEN and CENELEC) & Frank Stammer, convenor of CEN/TC 249/WG 11 'Plastics Recycling [Online]
  • Raphael Jaumotte, Technical Manager from Petcore Europe [Online]
  • Fátima Sani, Business Manager, Business Development Africa TOMRA Collection [Online]
  • Alyson Fick, Manager, Standards Development at ASTM) [Online]
  • Clem Ugorji . Lead Advisor, Circularium Africa
  • Nadine Umutoni, African Standards Organisation

Below you can view and download the summary report from the workshop discussion and the presentation materials shared by all participants. 

About Switch to Circular Economy Value Chains project

The overall objective of the SWITCH to Circular Economy Value Chains project (SWITCH2CE), co-funded by the European Union and the Government of Finland, is to support the “Transformation towards a circular economy”, including to contribute to sustainable growth, low carbon and climate resilient development, decent jobs creation, and safer, healthier and pollution-free environment. SWITCH2CE is a five-year initiative that assists EU multinational companies and their suppliers from developing countries to switch to more circular economy approaches and practices in three selected value chains: Plastic Packaging, Textile & Garments, and ICT & Electronics. SWITCH2CE is implemented by UNIDO, in collaboration with Chatham House, Circle Economy and the European Investment Bank. Learn more at:

About the Waste to Value Coalition

Created on the initiative of the Ministry of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development and the CGEM, COVAD has established itself over the years as a forum for consultation and proposals. Its primary mission and raison d'être is to contribute to the emergence and structuring of value chains, and to promote circular economy practices on a national and regional scale across all sectors. As a source of ideas, it works to provide solutions adapted to the challenges of the waste management and recovery sector and encourages national and international partnerships. [email protected]

About African Circular Economy Alliance

The African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA) is a collaborative platform committed to fostering sustainable practices, reducing waste, and promoting circular economies in African nations. ACEA brings together key stakeholders, policymakers, and industry leaders to address environmental challenges and drive positive change in the region.