One of the biggest recycling companies in Nigeria, Wecyclers was declared the winner of the 2019 King Baudouin African Development Prize that was worth 200,000 Euros (N104 million) for its contribution to Africa’s development.
The Coordinator Africa and Developing countries of King Baudouin Foundation, Herve Lisoir while speaking with the press on Wednesday revealed Wecyclers won the prize for the role it is playing in solving waste management in Africa.
He said, “We selected Wecyclers because we know that waste management is an issue for Lagos, Africa, and Europe. We celebrate your innovation, perseverance and keeping it real”.He noted that the prize aimed to acknowledge the work of African persons or organizations which have made an exemplary contribution to development in Africa.
According to him, the prize recognizes initiatives that improve quality of life and empower local people to take their future into their own hands.
Mrs. Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, Founder, Wecyclers, said that the organization has not only shown the people of Lagos the value of recycling but helped to improve lives and the environment.
She said that as a start-up, her passion was about helping to solve the waste challenges facing Africa, and thanked King Baudouin Foundation for its support and the award.
Wale Adebiyi, Chief Executive Officer, Wecyclers, said that it had collected about 5000 tonnes of recyclable waste since 2012, given over $100, 000 as incentives, and have over 17,000 subscribers.
He said that the company averaged four tonnes of plastics daily, which did not contribute to ocean pollution and ruin the ecosystem.
Adebiyi acknowledged that there were challenges of human capital issues, funding, and bureaucracy confronting the recycling industry.
He said that there were plans to expand WeCyclers beyond the seven local government areas it presently covers in Lagos, and even go beyond Nigeria.
The award was part of the “Silicon Lagoon Mission” that has a team of Belgian start-ups, scale-ups, corporations and NGOs visit different Nigerian companies domiciled in Lagos.
The Belgian delegates were led by Minister Philippe De Backer, Belgium Minister of Digital Agenda, Telecommunications and Post Office on a visit which holds between March 20 to 24.
Some of the places to be visited are Tony Elumelu Foundation, CCHub, Facebook Artificial intelligence Hub, LifeBank, Jumia, Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF), MEST Incubator and IFC (World Bank).