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Orange and UNIDO collaborate to revolutionize Egypt’s mobile and network/IT equipment markets with circular solutions

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Orange (www.Orange.com) have joined forces to support over the next two years the establishment of a viable business model for high-quality standard secondary market of mobile devices and networks/IT equipment in Egypt. This pilot is part of the global Switch to Circular Economy Value Chains project (SWITCH2CE), co-funded by the European Union and the Government of Finland; The ambition is to foster a just transition of the Egyptian Electronics-ICT value chain to an inclusive, climate neutral and circular economy; Egypt’s e-waste generation represents 20% of the total e-waste in Africa with 585.8 kt and The Egyptian government has set the target of increasing the recycling rate to 25% by 2030 and ensuring the safe disposal of all hazardous waste; The first refurbishment center will be set in 2024 in Egypt and will support capacity building of locally recruited technicians.

An initiative for supporting the adoption of circular economy practices, developing a local infrastructure and creating capacity development opportunities

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Orange have joined forces to pioneer an initiative aimed at revolutionizing Egypt’s mobile device and network equipment markets. An extensive network of local and international partners, including Nokia, Cordon Group which is in the process of establishing in Egypt, Sofrecom Group, eTadweer, and many others, will join this transformation. This pilot is part of the global Switch to Circular Economy Value Chains project (SWITCH2CE), co-funded by the European Union and the Government of Finland.

This pilot project will focus on several key objectives to realize the circular potential of Egypt’s ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and electronics value chain:

Supporting the adoption of circular economy practices and policies: The initiative aims to accelerate the development of circular economy practices and policies in Egypt by engaging citizens and advocating for behavioral change towards recycling and circularity. This pilot project is expected to have a positive impact on the environment and reduce carbon footprints by formalizing the recycling of e-waste and extending product lifetimes.
Developing a local infrastructure: network equipment and mobile devices refurbishment centers will be established to serve the local market, with ambitions to become an Africa&Middle East hub.
Capacity Development: Local technicians will be recruited and trained, vocational certifying training programs will be introduced, and new practices that promote circular transitions in the electronics sector will be implemented, including with the informal sector.

This pilot aims to open new potential for reuse of products, extend their longevity and reduce the generated e-waste. Refurbished and recertified network equipment and devices will re-enter the local market, the residual e-waste will be collected and recycled by pilot’s partners. A vision based on repair, second life, sustainability and refurbishment of devices and equipment is a relevant approach to address the challenge of a more sustainable ICT and electronics sector in Egypt and in the region.

A need to bring circular economy to Egypt and Africa

Egypt’s telecommunications market is one of the largest in Africa and the Middle East, both in terms of GDP contribution and number of internet and mobile phone users [1] (85.8 million and 105.01 million respectively in 2023). With an average annual growth rate of 16.7% in FY 2021/2022 [2], the ICT sector is the highest-growing state sector over the past five years.

Egypt is also among the highest generators of e-waste in Africa. Yet, recycling companies are struggling to find economically viable methods to collect and convert these materials into secondary resources, resulting in15 to 20% of Egypt’s e-waste being recycled according to the United Nations Environment Program. Egypt has set ambitious targets to improve its waste management systems, including for e-waste, as outlined in Egypt Vision 2030. Plans also include increasing the recycling rate to 25% by 2030 and ensuring 100% safe disposal of hazardous waste.

“We are pleased to collaborate with the United Nations and our partners, Nokia and Cordon Group, to help implementing circular economy in Egypt and Africa. The evolution of uses and the strong expansion of electronic equipment require a responsible reconditioning system that integrates local markets and includes local population. Orange is proud to be able to use its long-standing expertise to develop this virtuous economy and contribute to the social and economic development of the territories in which it operates” explains Jérôme Hénique, Executive Vice President, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa (OMEA).

“By creating coalitions and synergies with its entire ecosystem, Orange aims to reduce the environmental footprint. Circular economy is a concrete lever for decarbonization, rational management of natural resources and economic development in the regions. These projects are fully in line with our ambition to reduce our CO2 emissions by 45% in 2030 compared with 2020 for all scopes 1, 2 and 3, as set out in our “Lead the future” strategic plan adds Elizabeth Tchoungui, Executive Vice President of Group Corporate Social Responsibility.

“With the support of the European Union and the Government of Finland, UNIDO leads the global Switch to Circular Economy Value Chains (SWITCH2CE) project. In Egypt, we support the circular transition for the ICT and electronics sector, by piloting innovative circular solutions in close cooperation with the private sector. This pilot will address acute challenges on new technology, business models and traceability, and will demonstrate the economic opportunity for circular approaches. The project also collaborates with government partners, academia, and NGOs to create an enabling environment for circularity through policy and tailored capacity building.” Mark Draeck, SWITCH2CE Chief Technical Advisor, UNIDO.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Orange Middle East and Africa.

Contacts presse Orange :
Claire Doisy – claire.doisy@orange.com
Caroline Cellier – caroline.cellier@orange.com

About SWITCH2CE:
Switch to Circular Economy Value Chains is an initiative that assists EU multinational companies and their suppliers from developing countries to switch to more circular economy approaches and practices in three selected value chains: Plastic Packaging, Textile&Garments, and ICT and Electronics. The overall objective of SWITCH2CE to Circular Economy Value Chain Project is to support the “Transformation towards a circular economy”, including to contribute to sustainable growth, low carbon and climate resilient development, decent jobs creation, and safer, healthier, and pollution-free environment.

SWITCH2CE is co-funded by the European Union and the Government of Finland, led by UNIDO, in collaboration with Chatham House, Circle Economy, and the European Investment Bank. Learn more at: www.SWITCHtoCircular.eu

About Orange:
Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of €43.5 billion in 2022 and 137,000 employees worldwide as at September 30, 2023, including 73,000 in France. The Group had a total customer base of more than 296 million customers on September 30, 2023, including 251 million mobile customers and 25 million fixed broadband customers. The Group is present in 26 countries. Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies under the brand Orange Business. In February 2023, the Group presented its “Lead the future” strategic plan, built on a new business model and guided by responsibility and efficiency. “Lead the Future” capitalizes on network excellence to reinforce Orange’s leadership in service quality.

Orange is listed on Euronext Paris (symbol ORA) and on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol ORAN).

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Orange and any other Orange product or service names included in this material are trademarks of Orange or Orange Brand Services Limited.

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