Transitioning towards a “Green Economy” in Algeria

Reflecting on The Green Entrepreneurship Week

1 mars 2023
Participants à la Semaine de l'Entrepreneuriat Vert 2022
UNDP Algeria

Worldwide, annual waste production is expected to increase 73% from 2020 levels to 3.88 billion tones by 2050. Over 90% of waste in low-income countries is often dumped in unregulated landfills or burned in open air. Today, waste management is a global issue, but it is also an important economic opportunity at the national and local levels. The waste management issue combines the imperatives of responsible consumption and production, with a significant potential for revenue creation, in a market estimated at more than $500 billion worldwide. The circular economy today offers us a plethora of options to make rational use of our resources, reduce our environmental impact, protect the health of populations and communities, and support a new innovative economy that is able to generate new sources of income and create more jobs.

In Algeria, local authorities are faced with the challenge of maintaining a better quality of public services in the context of household waste management as the production of waste per inhabitant in some cities has increased to about 1 kg per day in the past years (APS source). This issue is topical in Algeria, and, as part of its new economic orientation, the Algerian government has made the green economy and investment in some of its key sectors, including recycling and waste recovery, a major axis and bearer of development and technological progress. 

"Algeria has adopted in its national policies a set of strategies to support and encourage investment in this area [waste management] and has put in place laws and regulations to promote entrepreneurial initiatives to achieve growth in national economies as an integral part of achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals,” said Samia Moualfi, Minister of Environment and Renewable Energies, during the green entrepreneurship week.

Algeria, like other countries in the region, has made a commitment through its National Determined Contribution (NDC) and its National Climate Plan, (notably through actions to recover waste), to create the right conditions for the emergence of a green economy, which would make growth more sustainable and less harmful to the environment. Waste management is at the heart of this new economy through making it possible to envisage significant economic gains for local communities involved in value chains but also an opportunity to support technological innovation in the country, notably through digital solutions dedicated to the collection, purchase, and sale of waste. 

Urgent action is more than necessary!

In the city of Sétif, one of the most economically dynamic towns in the country and under the patronage of the Minister of Environment and Renewable Energy, the National Waste Agency, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Algeria and in collaboration with the wilaya (region) of Sétif, organized the "Green Entrepreneurship Week", from last fall at Ferhat Abbas University. This event brought together a multitude of actors, including the government, the private sector, civil society, and academia, to create momentum within the entrepreneurial and environmental ecosystem that will enable a transition to a green economy.

“UNDP stands ready to contribute to the Algerian national dynamics in the field of waste management, and to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, notably SDG 12, dedicated to reducing pollution through sustainable production and consumption patterns,” said Blerta Aliko, UNDP Resident Representative in Algeria, speaking at the event.

Through its Country Programme, UNDP Algeria supports the creation of businesses in the circular economy, and supports innovation, particularly through initiatives such as the Green Entrepreneurship Week, carried out by the UNDP Algeria Accelerator Lab, a privileged space dedicated to reflection, experimentation, and innovation. 

This event, which was organized as part of the “Global Entrepreneurship Week,” aimed to show its support for green entrepreneurship through information, raising awareness, and support for the mechanisms for creating income and wealth-generating green activities in the waste management sector. The week’s agenda was composed of a series of conferences, a discussion panel, an exhibition, workshops, and a training of trainers on the creation of green enterprises, but also issued a challenge for young entrepreneurs to present their ideas on the circular economy. 

As part of its new strategy, the National Waste Agency has drawn up a special program to support young people with new ideas in the field of waste collection and recycling. To choose recipients of their support, the challenge involved a selection of future green entrepreneurs who presented their projects to a jury composed of professionals in the field of entrepreneurship, waste management and finance. Seven winners of this challenge from 228 applications received, were selected. Three of them had the opportunity to be accompanied for the realization of their projects. 

“Green start-ups are the future of the recycling sector,” said Karim Ouamane, Director General of the National Waste Agency, speaking at the event, noting that fresh ideas and innovation need to be at the heart of federating the sector. 

“Transition toward a Green Economy!”

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the green economy is an economy that leads to improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and resource scarcity. However, might we, at the same time, have a satisfactory quality of life and a protected environment? 

The accelerator lab through collective intelligence, innovation challenge, design thinking, capacity building and experimentation allowed different elements of the ecosystem to engage in a deep reflection on the issue, and to inspire others for a greener, more sustainable future. Restructuring the national economy, relaunching industrial development in the strategic sectors of waste management, regulation and green finance in Algeria, E-commerce in waste management, the integration of a training on waste management in our universities and vocational training centers, a green label for our startups, green women’s entrepreneurship; how all these discussions allow a green economy transition in Algeria? The reflection continues…



Hanane Kaouane, Head of Experimentation, Accelerator Lab UNDP Algeria. 

Nassim Balla, Programme Analyst, Portfolio Nature, Climate, and Energy, UNDP Algeria.