The Nigerian government, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and UN Environment have partnered with Dell, HP, Microsoft and Phillips to launch a $15-million investment to create a formal electronic-waste (e-waste) recycling industry in Nigeria.
A report published on Thursday by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and UN E-Waste Coalition found that the world is on the brink of a major health and environmental crisis, as the amount of e-waste produced looks set to grow from 50-million tonnes a year currently to 120-million tonnes a year by 2050.
“With only 20% of the electronics and plastics formally recycled each year, this looming health and environmental catastrophe also represents a unique $62-billion a year economic opportunity,” said the report.
The current volume of annual e-waste production, at almost 50-million tonnes, weighs more than every commercial airliner ever built combined. It is also three times more valuable than the total output of the world’s silver mines.
Further, the report noted that there is 100 times more gold in one tonne of mobile phones than in a tonne of gold ore.
The Nigerian e-waste partnership was convened on the WEF’s Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy.
The WEF is holding is annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, this week.
The investment comprises a $2-million GEF investment, which will be leveraged for an additional $13-million in private sector co-financing.
At a global level, seven UN entities have come together, supported by the WEF and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to better address the e-waste challenge.