A continental conference of engineers that seeks ways to ensure proper use and reuse of solid and liquid, as well as electronic matters is scheduled to take place in Kigali, from September 25 to 29, 2017.
The forum, dubbed "Africa Engineering Conference", to take place at Kigali Convention Centre will be held simultaneously with the 4th United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Africa Engineering Week, 2017 under the theme "Effective Waste Management in Africa."
The forum is expected to draw attention to the current diverse challenges facing waste management in Africa and to consider the prospects for adequate, reliable and sustainable development of this critical sector of human existence and well-being.
The challenges to waste management in African countries include exhausted waste collection services, and inadequately managed and uncontrolled dumpsites.
The meeting is expected to attract about 1,000 delegates providing an excellent opportunity for exchange of ideas among the engineering fraternity in Africa and beyond.
According to experts, addressing waste management in Africa's fast growing cities will require innovative engineering and technology-based solutions.
Speaking to The New Times, the president of Institution of Engineers of Rwanda, Papias Kazawadi, said it's high time for the continent to address the issue of waste.
Underscoring the significance of the conference, he said, "We are still managing our waste in traditional ways. There is need for advanced technologies in dealing with liquid and solid wastes."
He noted buildings being constructed in Kigali city have guidelines to follow in terms of waste management based on environmental impact assessment.
But he expressed concerns that there is sometimes no follow-up to ensure that the guidelines are implemented accordingly.
"There is also the problem of lack of the necessary skills for people who are involved in the process, and a shortage in equipment for waste treatment," he said.
He called for concerted efforts to meet all requirements and, as a result, be able to create jobs for many people and address waste-induced problems.
The Housing and Urbanisation Division Manager at the Ministry of Infrastructure, Eddy Kyazze, told The New Times that waste management in Africa still lags poorly, whereby all sorts of wastes, including the degradable and non-degradable, are disposed of in the same landfills.
He said a proper mechanism can make waste management a profitable business, from sorting of wastes to transportation to making use of wastes through recycling or treatment.
He said there should be technologies that can turn wastes into solutions instead of being a threat to people.
Wastes can be harnessed to produce energy that can power business, he said.
With households struggling to manage wastes, especially used water and other liquid wastes, on their own, he said that there is need for centralised waste management systems in Kigali.
To achieve this goal, he said, planned settlement should be reinforced.
According to information from the ministry, the government is looking to mobilise resources for the construction of Kigali Central sewerage system.