DMU supports pan-African research to cut plastic waste

Academics at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) are part of a global project which aims to help foster innovation and entrepreneurship across Sub-Saharan Africa.

The British Council’s Innovation for African Universities (IAU) programme has chosen 24 projects that will grow universities’ capabilities for developing a culture of entrepreneurship, giving graduates the skills they need to build sustainable industries, companies and services.

Through stronger peer to peer connections and sharing best practices and knowledge between higher education institutions, the programme aims to enhance students’ employability and support economic development.

DMU is working with the Pan African University Life and Earth Sciences Institute and Africa's largest innovation hub Co-Creation Hub, to help boost the circular economy in Nigeria.

Dr Muyiwa Oyinlola (IESD) is the DMU lead for the programme, which looks at how to create ecosystems that support and develop “waste to wealth” ventures, re-using and recycling plastic into new products, reducing the need for landfill and creating new businesses.

“Building a culture of innovation in universities is the first step to creating this ecosystem,” he explained. “At the moment , there are different initiatives to  deal with plastic waste in Nigeria, however,  less than 10% of the plastic waste is recycled.  An enabling ecosystem will help create, transform, and communicate knowledge  therefore nurturing many  innovations for converting waste into useful products”.

“Through the project,  we would establish three circular plastic innovation centres in Nigeria, ( Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, University of Lagos and University of Nigeria, Nsukka).  These hubs will help build capacity  of students and encourage them to run businesses that can turn waste into useful products.”  

The IAU programme will run until September. Each partnership has received up to £100,000 and has been given a particular issue to investigate.  All of the issues are around innovation and entrepreneurship and building the capacity of organisations in Africa to bring together industry and academia.
Mary Kinoti of University of Nairobi said the programme will “create businesses and employment opportunity among the youth in Africa”.

The British Council highlighted that many young Africans lack the opportunities, training and support to develop their ideas for businesses and enterprise. Sub-Saharan Africa’s youth population is expected to double to over 830 million by 2050.

“The IAU programme offers a great opportunity for universities in Sub-Saharan Africa to spur innovation and entrepreneurship culture and mindset among the academia and students,” Kinoti said.

Posted on Friday 28th January 2022

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