What is Circular Economy

The circular economy (CE) is a concept that aims to minimize waste and maximize resource efficiency by keeping resources in use for as long as possible. A circular economy is an alternative to the traditional linear economy, and seeks to prevent environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, accelerated climate change, waste and pollution. 


The circular economy is an economic system of closed loops in which:

The principles of circularity are essential to enable and grow a nature based economy and ensure conservation of natural ecosystems. It advocates for three principles:

Our mission for the Circular Economy

African Leadership University's School of Wildlife Conservation is taking the lead in accelerating the circular economy transition in Africa. The School is committed to educating its students and professionals on the importance of circular economy principles with the aim of creating a sustainable future for the continent’s wildlife and natural resources.

Currently, most of the research and knowledge on the circular economy is being developed in the Global North. This implies that much of this knowledge is neither applicable nor suitable for African countries and communities. Therefore, the School fills the gaps by integrating circular economy in teaching and building local knowledge through impact-driven research. ALU is the only university across the continent that takes a holistic approach to the circular economy by educating students and professionals on the circular economy through courses, circular student ventures and creating new knowledge about the circular economy through research.This first report provides an overview of the current status of the wildlife economy in Africa, including data from as many African countries as possible with detailed data from selected case study countries.

This overview includes:

Our Circular Economy Programme

Education for students and youngsters

At the School, we integrate circular economy in our curriculum through a mandatory course and specialisation pathway on the circular economy for ALU students. The students learn circular economy through real-world learning experiences such as capstone projects, research internships (see our research programme), and entrepreneurship.

Also, in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, ALU produced the interactive webinar series “Change of Climate for Africa: Africa's change to a circular economy” and master class to challenge students aged 13-19 years. Click below to find out more information about the Africa Teens Webinar series and Masterclass for African teenagers.

Professional development

The School curates professional development courses to train the public and private sectors on the circular economy across African countries. We do this through tailor-made programmes where we use our expertise on the circular economy in Africa and asses the local circular economy gaps to develop training programmes for professionals working in public and private sectors.

One of the examples of these efforts is the partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation where African professionals were trained on the circular economy through a 7-week course “from linear to circular” (FLTC). In 2022, the programme trained 84 professionals from at least 22 African countries to build a circular economy community of practice for Africa.

3 ALU students have been selected to be part of FTLC, whereby they have the opportunity to network, learn and exchange knowledge about the circular economy with professionals across Africa. Click below to find out more about their experience


The circular economy research program at the African Leadership University (ALU) is an initiative to overcome the lack of knowledge about the circular economy in Africa through impact-driven research. Our research programme aims to build circular economy knowledge and innovation applicable to African countries and contexts by engaging local stakeholders. The School aims to continue this initiative by building industry-academia partnerships to pilot circular economy solutions.

The program has 11 research projects underway in 4 different African countries, each addressing at least two of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - supported by 43 students and graduates across Rwanda, Mauritius, Kenya and Uganda.

One of the circular economy research interns interviews a farmer in the rural areas of Kenya.

Please click below for the link to the factsheet for all our research projects.


Access a wealth of resources from the ALU CE research programme, all prepared by our staff and students. Our collection includes academic articles, policy briefs with policy recommendations, fact sheets, and posters, all offering valuable insights into the latest developments in the circular economy space for African countries and contexts.

Academic articles

Click below to access the first academic research topic for the circular economy in Africa created by the research programme. This research topic creates a platform for researchers to share and publish their work on the circular economy.

Published articles


At ALU, we strive to build an entrepreneurial mindset and hands-on learning. Our students are actively working towards solving Africa's problems, and the circular economy is at the forefront of their efforts. Our programme supports 61 student start ups across Africa with a circular business model, each tackling some of the continent's most pressing challenges, including waste accumulation, resource scarcity, and pollution. By adopting circular economy principles, our students are creating sustainable and profitable business models that prioritize social and environmental impact.

Discover the inspiring stories behind our students' startups and their journey towards building a more sustainable and prosperous Africa.

PL organics
Make-up, Rwanda

Craftsman tools
Rental equipment, Zimbabwe

House design, Senegal

Feed Limited
Animal feed, Rwanda

Operation 414
Construction, Rwanda

Operation 414
Construction, Rwanda

ALU students receive a prize from the Minister of Environment, Dr Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya after of the completion of the Circular Economy Hackton during the World Circular Economy Forum.

Impact so far

Our partners

We are working closely with partners across the continent to increase the impact of our work. One of our milestones is our partnership with the Ministry of Environment in Rwanda towards the implementation of the National Action Plan for Circular Economy. Click below to find out more about our partnership with the Ministry of Environment.

Some of our other partners:

How to get involved

Share our work across your network

Spread the word about the importance of the circular economy by sharing our articles, posters, and publications across your networks.

Follow us on our social media platforms

Stay up-to-date with the latest news, updates, and insights by following us on social media. The links are on the bottom of this page. Don't miss out.

Reach out to us to explore collaboration opportunities

We welcome collaboration opportunities and would love to hear from you - reach out to us on and let's explore the possibilities together.


Don't miss the chance to network in person and connect with like-minded individuals - sign up for our upcoming event, BCC 2023. Access the registration on the BCC 2023 page above.

If you would you like to contribute data, collaborate on research or would you like further information please contact