Episode 60: Why African governments accept dumping from abroad while ignoring local innovators

Children scavenge at an e-waste dumpsite in Ghana. Photo: BRS MEAS

In this episode we look back at some of the most innovative entrepreneurs we’ve interviewed, and why they are struggling to get their brilliant ideas off the ground. Instead of assisting them, African governments continue to welcome dumping of plastics and other toxic materials that seem to make worse the problems these innovators are trying to solve.

Episode 48: Meet Nzambi Matee, the Kenyan Woman Turning Plastic Waste Into Building Materials

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Kenyan environmentalist and social entrepreneur, Nzambi Matee, (second from left) and her team at Gjenge Makers, where they turn plastic waste into building materials. Photo: Courtesy.

When Nzambi Matee sees plastic waste, she sees gold. And she’s on a quest to pave the streets and sidewalks of Kenya with it. Matee is the founder of Gjenge Makers, a Nairobi-based startup that is working to reverse environmental pollution by turning plastic waste into building materials. Matee has received numerous honors for her innovation, including Young Champion of the Earth, an award given by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to young entrepreneurs who are solving the world’s most difficult environmental problems.

Matee speaks with us about her upbringing in Kenya, and the obstacles African entrepreneurs like her run into when they try to innovate.