• Whitman said climate change has made everyone to wake up and start doing something towards venturing into the circular economy.
• The ambassador said despite everyone thinking and having ideas on plastics, the community needs to be educated and be involved.
US Ambassador Meg Whitman has urged the government and corporates to support young entrepreneurs recycle and make money from waste.
She said companies and governments need to come together and find a way of how they can put value into waste.
“Financing is the biggest problem, how to raise money for what you do and pay people to work in your company,” Whitman said.
She was speaking during a meeting with young entrepreneurs who are the finalists of the Mombasa Plastics Prize competition at Swahili Pot Hub in Mombasa.
Whitman said climate change has made everyone to wake up and start doing something towards venturing into the circular economy.
“Right now the world is at a turning point, I have been following the circular economy for many years and it has never gotten much traction around the world,” she said.
"However, I think in the last couple of years and because of climate is change, everyone is now waking up and we are being led by young generation."
The ambassador said despite everyone thinking and having ideas on plastics, the community needs to be educated and be involved.
She said the community can only be involved when there is value, there must be money for them to be interested to participate.
“I love the idea and the entrepreneurial nature of what the young people and the county government of Mombasa is doing but as you think about plastic, the community needs to be educated and be involved," Whitman said.
"But again, until there is value put on waste, you are relying on judged people's good intentions. There has to be money for the community to want to do this.”
“This needs to be a lot of money because people would want to do it from their heart but if there can be incentive that a community can make Sh100 a day or Sh1,000 a week, that will make a difference,” she added.
The ambassador encouraged the young entrepreneurs to stay strong and keep doing what they are doing because they the essential to the future of the country and the world.
“Being an entrepreneur is really hard, there are obstacles everyday that are thrown your way. There are challenges that are very hard to overcome but you must keep going. I admire what you are doing but ensure that you enlist the government and big companies around to help you,” she said.
“I would encourage you to go to some of the big companies in Kenya whether it is American, French, German or Middle East companies or big Kenyan companies to get conventional financing from their foundations or just their business,” Whitman added.
Mombasa Deputy Governor Francis Thoya said for the county to go circular in recycling and reuse of plastics, the community and youth must be put at the centre of it.
He said they believe the circular economy is going to provide many employment opportunities in the future.
“Today as county government, we collect mixed waste therefore what we are trying to do is to see how best can we introduce the issue of segregation at source and when we do that then it fills directly into the larger issue around the circular economy,” Thoya, who is also the environment executive, said.
He said the county government has the Solid Waste Management Act 2022 and the key part of legislation is that waste must be segregated at source.