Ecopreneurship is on the rise in Africa, creating local solutions to alleviate poverty and various environmental problems ailing the different countries on the continent. An “ecopreneur” is exactly what it sounds like, an entrepreneur whose business focuses on creating or selling sustainable goods or services. For those stuck in poverty, ecopreneurship could be the empowering tool to break the cycle. Here are a few key factors that show the ways ecopreneurs alleviate poverty in Africa.

Reducing the Growing Waste Problem

With African populations projected to continually increase over the upcoming decades, waste production and management will equally be an increasing area of concern. Uncollected or improperly managed waste is a public health concern as it causes diseases and environmental degradation from the polluted land and water. Only 40 percent of waste is generally collected by the government in Nigeria, and, of that, only 13 percent is recycled.

WeCyclers of Lagos, Nigeria is an award-winning business that collects recycled waste from households and sells it to recycling plants for a profit. To incentivize impoverished communities to partake in recycling, WeCyclers has created a program rewarding participants with “points” for every kilogram of recyclables that can later be traded for household essentials.

The company also recognizes the importance of lifting women out of poverty. Of the 200 locals being employed by WeCyclers, 60 percent are women. Serving as great models for simultaneous waste and poverty reduction, businesses like WeCyclers reduce many disease risks like malaria and dysentery, which also helps to alleviate poverty in addition to job creation.

Read more at the Borgen Magazine