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Waste management in Africa: a review of cities’ experiences

Working papers

Written by Claire Kumar, Anna Bailey-Morley, Eugenia Kargbo, Lamin Sanyang

Image credit:Korka Jallow, Kanifing Municipal Council.

Access to effective waste management services is critical in any city. Where a city’s waste management is inadequate, it has drastic effects on the environment, public health and the quality of life of urban residents. Responsibility for waste management services is often devolved to local government, making it a central issue for mayors and city administrations. However, cities have limited budgets and have often struggled to deliver adequate waste collection, treatment and disposal services.

Waste management is therefore a top priority for many of the African cities which make up the Africa-Europe Mayors’ Dialogue, a platform coordinated by ODI that brings together over 20 cities across Africa and Europe to work together on shared challenges related to sustainable urban development.

This paper documents innovations and challenges in the waste management sector across African cities. It includes two in-depth case studies on the city of Kanifing in the Gambia and the city of Freetown in Sierra Leone, to support learning, knowledge sharing and to inform future municipal waste management reform.