COLIBA piloting waste management app in Ghana

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Ivory Coast-based startup COLIBA is piloting its waste management web and mobile application in five schools in Ghana, aiming to help users monetise their waste and satisfy the demand of recycling companies.

COLIBA launched in Ghana in February, and expects to do so in its home market – Ivory Coast – later this year.

The app shows users how to separate their waste, informs them of the real-time value of the waste, and allows them to request and schedule a pick-up. They can then also get paid for the waste via the mobile platform.

COLIBA focuses on plastic, polythene and metal waste materials, integrating SMS notifications and messaging in order to reach out to users of feature phones for wider coverage.

For every kilogramme of material that families recycle with us, they receive redeemable COLIBA points over the website, mobile platform and cellphones in return,” co-founder Yaya Kone told Disrupt Africa.

“Families can then redeem their points for goods that they value, such as airtime, basic food items, and household goods.”

The startup is currently piloting in five schools in Ghana, generating close to 500 kilogrammes monthly, which it is hoping to grow to two tonnes by November.

COLIBA’s team was initially formed through a hackathon initiated by the African Development Bank (AfDB) innovation week in Abidjan, but launched first in Ghana after taking part in the West African leg of the AMPION Venture Bus. Kone said it is solving a real problem.

“Every year in Ivory Coast, the best part of one million tonnes of household waste is not collected and sprinkles the streets,” he said. “We sensitise and incite the population into recycling.”

Not only is this of great social benefit, he said the startup has identified a major market opportunity.

“Looking at West Africa, millions of tonnes of solid waste is generated annually, leading to the gradual increase in the number of solid waste recycling companies in the region to tap the economic opportunity,” Kone said.

“Taking Nigeria as an example, over US$250 million in revenue is generated annually by the  waste recycle businesses from the Lagos area. The same condition applies to other West African countries.”

Yet he said most of these companies lack an adequate supply of solid waste materials to process and export to international markets such as India and  China,.

“COLIBA is determined to utilise this opportunity to provide consistent and reliable waste supply to recycle companies at a competitive price,” Kone said.

“The current rate of urbanisation and economic development in cities of West Africa will also lead to an increase in waste generation. COLIBA intends to expand to Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso over the next five years.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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