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Foreign Policy Analysis
Wege Prize 2019 – Nkunim (Finalist Award) Final Presentation and Q&A

Wege Prize 2019 – Nkunim (Finalist Award) Final Presentation and Q&A


Representing team Nkunim
is Shodrock Gyowu, who is joining us
from Accra, Ghana, where he studies at the
Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration. Hi, Shodrock, welcome. Hi. Good to see you. Thank you very much. Good to see you, too. Good to see you. How you feeling? Ready to go? Yeah, great. I’m ready to go. Fantastic. OK. Without further
ado, take it away. Now, OK. As she said, my name
is Shodrock Gyowu. Well, I’m here with my
teammates, [? Abu ?] and [INAUDIBLE]. They are behind me, so
it’s good that you guys will get to see me. We are here
presenting for Nkunim, and we are here to present our
[? hopeful, ?] our application and how we tend to express
[INAUDIBLE] as a system to help solve our
[? application ?] problem. Next piece. Ah, next slide, please. OK. Now they that we were looking
at the situation in Ghana, as often [? illustration, ?]
[INAUDIBLE] Ghana are the floods. Now these floods are
caused by the toxic waste that we have in our system. Now every single year, when it
rains, we face the same system. Even though we have
five drainage systems, the plastic waste
compounds my problem. Now what you here are looking
at is a very common scenario, which we just
experienced two days ago. Now it doesn’t just flood. At the end of the day,
we have [INAUDIBLE],, and there are businesses– other things that that
seek our money– we have mosquitoes
everywhere, as well as cirrhosis and high risk death. Now with a death scenario, we
have a very bad experience. And in 2015, where
we had people– around 150 people dying–
because of this [INAUDIBLE] scenario. Now the next thing that
you’re about to see is a little bit more
graphic, so I’ll say viewer discretion advised. Now next station. Now what you’re
currently looking at– it is not a dump sight. Now this is an example of how
our drainage system looks like, and I’m sure you’ll
say it is very nasty. [CHUCKLES] Yes, it is. Now what happens is
the end of the day is plastic gets dumped
into our system. And I don’t know
[INAUDIBLE],, it doesn’t go. So it chokes [INAUDIBLE] system
and [INAUDIBLE] whole country or the city– other places that
this [INAUDIBLE].. Now this is a major problem
that we face in Ghana. Now this is caused because most
of the individuals in Ghana [? go ?] discipline issues,
so they have toilets out on the streets. So anywhere that you can
find this convenience. The next one is
[INAUDIBLE] or [INAUDIBLE].. Also important, we
also have issues such as waste
management [INAUDIBLE] to manage a waste
situation in that country. Now this and others
are switching. We want to talk more about
[INAUDIBLE] [? system ?] [? waste ?] [? in ?] Britain. Next slide, please. Now, Ghana is not all that bad. We have a lovely country here. In terms of population,
we are over 28.8, in terms of population. Ethnic groups, we have
over 100 ethnic groups. For natural resources, we
have gold, diamond, bauxite. We are probably known
for the Azonto dance. So yeah, it’s a
great place to be. Next slide, please. In terms of plastic,
we [INAUDIBLE] roughly about 2.5 million
metric tons of plastic annually. Sadly, 73% [INAUDIBLE]
effective waste, with only 0.1% being recycled. So that means, solidly, we
deal with a linear [INAUDIBLE].. [? Ideally, ?] we’d deal
with a a circular one. I don’t really ever
use [INAUDIBLE].. It doesn’t go out to
the recycling often. Next slide, please. Now, individuals also
have tried in their effort to solve this problem. We have governmental agencies,
and we have private companies and NGOs trying to
play a role to solve the problem of plastic waste. Our governments have invested
millions of dollars just to solve the problem, as
well as to meet the [? LDG ?] [? codes. ?] It hasn’t been
easy, but it still a process. As you can see, there is a
communal activity [INAUDIBLE] Ghana to make sure [INAUDIBLE]. OK. Now, others have informally
called for the ban on plastic totally. Others also equally
called for the installment of the bye-laws– the
sanitation bye-laws. And these bye-laws
are supposed to be initiated with
[INAUDIBLE] system, virtually rubbish everywhere. We are seeking [? new ?]
our mission and goals to make sure the entire
country is clean. [INAUDIBLE] however we
have [INAUDIBLE] ahead. So we use another device. We tend to send
information, of course. Also, understand the
problem as a day-in, day-out– as the
problem goes on day-in, day-out by anybody
else sending us feedback, which I’ll
give you more details as the time goes on. Next slide, please. OK. Now, to understand
the problem very well, we chose [INAUDIBLE]
called [? Circle. ?] Now, the circle has a
lot of activities and successful businesses,
as well as transitions with a lot of car activities. A lot of people appear to be
[INAUDIBLE] [? right ?] about the country and
[? several. ?] Sadly, this is [INAUDIBLE]
where, in 2015, about 150 people
lost their lives. So we chose to use
this environment to really understand
this mission and what brought about the other step. Now, our findings and analysis
prove that the key point was on [INAUDIBLE] governments. The second point was
individuals [INAUDIBLE] work to locate the dozens of job
sites [INAUDIBLE] over waste. So I don’t know [INAUDIBLE]
for a long time. He gets lazy and dumps
it somewhere else. They are not going to
[? into ?] something. Individuals feeling reluctant
to do the right thing. They look around and they
[INAUDIBLE] who look like them and just drop it anywhere. Another one who was– the [INAUDIBLE] waste
management systems communicate to the
stakeholders, that is the drivers of business owners. Most of the time, [INAUDIBLE]
are around for about a whole week, but nobody
is coming to pick it up. So with that problem, it
causes consistent plastic waste in the drainage
system, which becomes a problem that we have decided
to solve these in our system. Next slide, please. Now, to understand the
system [INAUDIBLE],, as I told you
earlier, our system is a combination [INAUDIBLE]
work mobile application. Is a conditional that one plus
the [? assistance ?] step. Now, the whole idea is
to make sure we combine this current system,
or this [INAUDIBLE],, to some section of Ghanaians,
and our own innovative ideas to make sure we get the rate of
the plastic [INAUDIBLE] problem that we have. Next slide, please. Now, to understand
the problem very well, our team took [INAUDIBLE] to
one of the listed [INAUDIBLE] sites. Now, as you can see, starting
from the left-hand side is a picture of [INAUDIBLE]. We walked to the site to
understand how it would work. [INAUDIBLE] and work
[INAUDIBLE] waste. Now, what they do is they
buy the plastic waste from the scavengers,
or most of the time, they go to the dump site
to buy the plastic waste. It’s the government, it’s
individuals, coming to them to sell plastic was to them. So I don’t know
[INAUDIBLE] plastic, which weighs about 25 kilo. I can barely
[? hear ?] the weight and the [INAUDIBLE]
quality [INAUDIBLE] if it is strong enough for
them to have a [INAUDIBLE].. Now the final things is where
the crushing takes place– where they crush the [INAUDIBLE]
or the plastics– sorry– into pellets. Now, after they
are done, they sell those pellets to the plastics
manufacturing companies in Ghana, who use it for their
new products and services. Next slide, please. OK, now, this is our
system– our mobile system that we have planned. We plan to integrate it
with the existing system. Now, the existing system,
when we spoke to them, they mentioned they have
no way of communicating with individuals who are
interested [INAUDIBLE] plastic [INAUDIBLE]. They have no way of getting
the information out there as to if they should
open a new location or they should build
a new locality. So people [INAUDIBLE] to
come and pick your refuse. They have no way of doing that. So all they do is
[INAUDIBLE] solve constant communication
between them and the people who supply
them with the raw materials [? also ?] which that can buy
the waste and other companies. Now, this is a problem
we intend to solve. Now, what you can
[INAUDIBLE] prototype. [INAUDIBLE] with one
of the forms that we use during the exercise. Now, the navigation system, as
well as the reporting system of our [INAUDIBLE] test
and it works just fine. So that means, if I find myself
in [INAUDIBLE] policy around [INAUDIBLE],, and I click
[? two ?] [? months ?] [INAUDIBLE] opens, it shows me
where trash bins are located and I can easily walk and
drop my dust bins here. Equally, if I guess
there is any issue, I can equally click
on that [INAUDIBLE] that’s been [INAUDIBLE]
report the issue back. Also, with this system, what
we intend to do is make sure we have constant communication
with all stakeholders. So somebody can send in feedback
to let us know, OK, here, you can see what this really
wants to coordinate to tell us that, this is where I am. I [INAUDIBLE] the problem
[? on ?] [? face, ?] in terms of refuse. Or I have refuse
for you to pick up. Now, our key targets,
in terms of the refuse– our key targets, in
terms of creating the app is for the general public,
as well as the companies who produce the plastic products. So in a supply
[? communist ?] system, all we intend to do is,
after they’ve used it, we would be the receivers
of this product, and give it to the
company– the company that intends to create it. Next slide, please. So as I told you, we
have received [? some ?] information, and other relevant
information that can be done. Now, it’s a [INAUDIBLE]
system where individuals can send information
for we to also reply. [INAUDIBLE] drivers
can use their app to plan their route
to pick up dust bins and do other trading systems. Next slide, please. OK. Now, what you see is a
plastic trade system. It’s very common in Ghana,
so it’s nothing new. Using the mobile app
to locate individuals is nothing new to
Ghanaians, as well. Since we have Uber,
individuals can easily use [INAUDIBLE] systems. So the same system
we have applied, and we intend to
use in our system. So that means our complete
system [INAUDIBLE] our department,
an IT department, for the individual
activities to take place to make sure we get the
maximum results in terms of financial production. Next slide, please. OK. Now, [INAUDIBLE] total
would use around 300 tons of plastic waste a day. Now, with this,
we– and I tell you, it’s 20 tons of
plastic waste a day. Now, using [? 3 ?] tons
of plastic waste a day, an individual,
[INAUDIBLE] his expenses, will be able to
have a [INAUDIBLE] if you have a [INAUDIBLE]
production a day, or [INAUDIBLE] over a year. Now, if this
[? thing ?] delays, he may expect his return to
be two to three-year period of investing or starting
up the business. That is the community plus
the assistant [INAUDIBLE] that we have. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] Excellent. We’re going to give
our judges a couple minutes here to talk
with each other. And congratulations. I love the aspect of using
the mobile technology. That’s really important to
the people of Ghana, right? That’s an important way
that all communication takes place on mobile phones. Is that accurate? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Very true. Yes. So now, I promised you yesterday
I wouldn’t make you actually do the Azonto dance, right? But could you tell us
a little bit about it? Yeah. It’s a [INAUDIBLE] dance formed
by [? hip-life ?] artist, Sarkodie. It was made
globally-known by Fuse ODG with the song “Azonto.” And it’s all about
you just do a move and you just raise your hand. So it’s that simple, and
I think once you just try one or two times, you can
be able to do the dance as well. So if you win today, I hope we
see your hands up in the air. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. [LAUGHTER] Now, you also host a radio show. Is that true? Yeah. I host a radio
show [? on Quest ?] 91.3 FM in Accra. And in the same way
I use our platform to also promote
sanitation and the use of innovative technology
to make sure individuals understand how best they
can solve the problem. It’s a big problem. They government is
investing money, but consistently, we just
keep having the same problem. So we just need to talk about
technology for [INAUDIBLE].. So that’s what we are excited
to use in an innovative way to make sure we combine it
and make sure we get rid of the problem and
use it in smart ideas and inventive ideas, as well. Wow. It’s, I think, hard for
us in the United States to imagine, if we’ve not
traveled, an environment where there’s really very
little public policy on waste and waste management,
especially recycling. Yeah. And so that’s really an
important contribution you’ve made here today. So we’re going to see
if our judges are ready. Yeah, they’re going to be. They are. All right. So the judges will
ask you some questions and I’ll be back on stage. OK. Nice job. I actually really
appreciate this because what you’re
trying to do is create a market for plastic waste. And we have seen major
countries closing their borders to international shipments
of plastic waste, and that has caused
a lot of ripple in the economy related
to how countries are going to start managing waste. And what you’ve done
is try to create local market, local action,
to bring those materials back into the economy. So I really, really
appreciate that. One of the things
that I’ve noticed, at least in the North
American context, is how cheap waste plastic is. It currently trades,
depending on the type– mixed plastic waste– at a
1/4 of a penny per pound. That is very, very
cheap, almost nothing. And I wonder, how
will your project– how will your program– sustain itself when the
global market of plastic is extremely cheap? OK. In terms of Ghana, the
figures you mentioned, when you compare those
figures to Ghanaian figures, it looks very huge. And currently, we have a high
level of unemployment in Ghana. So individuals
currently collect source such as this, and other
plastic bottles that we use, at the end of the day. So families are
currently gathering them. It’s happening. During our discussion,
we realize [INAUDIBLE] after they drink from the
bottles, they keep them. So it’s an assistance. But the volume will
definitely reduce as– probably, as you said–
new technologies come on board. But we will not have
a [? distinct ?] way of reaching out to them. Definitely, since they
are gathering them, the price market [INAUDIBLE]
we have innovative ways enough to meet them. And as I said, we also intend
to open different [INAUDIBLE] spots to make sure we’ve reached
out to the maximum number of people who are willing
to engage in trade with– giving them– instead
of, let’s say, they have other solid waste
or liquid waste they want to dispose, if we
take the plastic, you don’t need to pay a
dime what’s currently paid every time you dispose of it. So a liquid waste,
that is different from the plastic waste. So it’s sort of a barter trade. Because I’m giving you plastic,
I don’t pay for my own waste. So we have plans
and methods in place that we want to use to
make sure the people are interested in our ideas. Got it. And I heard you say
that the plan is to sell plastic waste to
plastic manufacturers, product manufacturers. Yeah. How much will you sell? What’s the price that you will
sell the plastic waste for? OK. Now, currently, a
pound of plastic waste on the international market
is relatively the same as Ghanaian markets
across the world– $0.58. Now, one way to the crash site
and dealing with the guys, we’ve witnessed continuously
that those businesses who deal with [INAUDIBLE]—- manufacture
[INAUDIBLE] by his pellets. So there’s already an
existing market for it. So as I said, the pound
would go for $0.58. Got it. Thank you. OK. This may be a very
naive question. I’m going to ask it anyway. It seems to me a big part
of what you’re trying to do is to change behavior of
people in the community. And instead of throwing
plastic waste and waste, in general, out into nature,
out into the environment, to put it into the
recycling system. And it seems like
there is a recycling system that already exists. So to me, you can solve this– you can solve a behavioral
problem economically, which is what you’re trying
to do with your solution. But you could also
solve it, essentially, in a marketing sense
or a promotional sense. So why would your
economic system be a better use of
time and materials and money than, let’s say,
a promotional campaign or an advertising
campaign that got people to simply put their waste into
the system that already exists? OK. You’re right, in terms of
changing people’s behavior because it’s one of the
major problems that we face as Ghanaians, honestly. But in terms of the
business side of it, currently, all the products
that we [INAUDIBLE] get packaged in plastic. So [INAUDIBLE] we
can’t do away with it. Now, taking advantage of
[INAUDIBLE] raw materials is what we tend to look at. So in the business
sense, of course we have a system that can
track, control, and sort the materials for us. So we don’t really need to
go and [? buy ?] [? these ?] plastic materials
from scavengers. So in a business sense, it’s a
way for you to get huge volumes of your resources you need,
which you just compared of [? painted ?]
[? metal, ?] wash and crush, and selling it to
other companies, who intend to use it for their
won [? gross ?] raw materials for use in products. Thank you. Hi. Well, thank you for
your presentation. I have a question with
respect to the sorting of the waste plastics. So my understanding of
the waste plastic market is that it’s super important
to be able to differentiate between, for example,
PET plastic or ABS or PLA or what have you. And that’s actually one of
the main challenges for mixed plastic rubbish– garbage– everywhere in the world. What kind of mechanisms
are you putting in place, in terms of your model
in order to sort plastic? Or are you just looking
at a mixed palette or a mixed product
that you’re then giving to plastics manufacturers? Or are you doing some
sort of sorting for them? OK. For the sorting, our key– what
we’re working with the existing team at– those– I will show
you the pictures. [INAUDIBLE] They have
a high demand for this. There’s a demand for
every plastic waste out there, whether it is
[INAUDIBLE] [? fresh ?] or [INAUDIBLE] into pieces. But there’s a higher
demand for PVC. That is polyvinyl
chloride, as well as the ones in the
prototype in [INAUDIBLE].. So what we tend to
do is, initially, we start with a [INAUDIBLE]
method, whereby we can [INAUDIBLE] that
individuals [INAUDIBLE] sorting to [INAUDIBLE] plastics. So we focus more on PVC, as
well as the [INAUDIBLE] bottles so we can use that one
to sort [INAUDIBLE] the plastic-producing companies. So the whole idea
is to sort out– once we have the mix– sort it out and to
give [INAUDIBLE].. Because all of them are
still needed in the markets, or are still purchased
in the markets anyway. Thank you. Again, I guess this may be a
naive question from my point. But I’m still trying
to discern, is there any recycling that’s going on? When you showed a slide that had
a 0.1% of recycling of plastics in Ghana, is that the
0.1% that’s actually being instituted by the government? Is it a public service
that’s going on that just is not being utilized? Currently, we have a joint
partnership between government and a company called Zoomlion. They have a composted plant. And we have one of our
methods working there. Now, what they do
is they recycle. They chop it into
pellets and they come out with basic household
[INAUDIBLE] dustbins. Because equally, they
use the dustbins as well. So the huge volume– there’s still a huge volume
of plastic waste available. It’s just not be touched. Because as the waste
management company, there are plenty of
processes to deal with that. We [INAUDIBLE] waste. We use [? about ?] [INAUDIBLE],,
about 300 tons of waste a day. It’s not possible. So yes, a huge amount
is being recycled. But compared to
the bigger picture of 300 tons of waste
[INAUDIBLE] a day, it’s just so hard to map it. Right. It’s just huge. OK, excellent. Thank you. Colin asks, “your initial costs
are higher than $6 million. From your presentation
materials, $6.7 million in startup costs,
startup expenses. Where will this
money come from?” Sorry, come again? Where will the money come
from to fund your $6.7 million startup expense? OK. Currently, the government
have one district, one factory policy, and that is
the new government. And what we intend to do
is to apply for that one district, one factory. What’s happened
is the government needs services like this. They just recently invested $20
million into recycling plans. So for [INAUDIBLE] who propose
our [INAUDIBLE] business case, we hope to attract government
sponsorship for the project. Equally, Ghanaians are creative
in terms of investments, and we have investors coming in. [INAUDIBLE] building
and representation. With all of our actions that
[INAUDIBLE] has given us, we should have a solid case
[INAUDIBLE] from sponsors. So you invest in the
country, and have huge benefits for a
short period of time, or huge payback over
a [INAUDIBLE] period of time realistically. Thank you. I have a quick
question and that is, what is your projection of the
change in price for the plastic that you sell back once
you’ve accomplished a 20% recycle rate, which is– what is it? 100% or 1000% more– 100% more– 100
times more plastic that’s being recycled now. What does that do to the price
of plastic and, therefore, your economics? It looks like– if I understand
you right, it’s based on– [INAUDIBLE] fast pace
of recycling [INAUDIBLE] will reduce. Because if we continue–
the more it goes on, the lower the prices gets. So that is [INAUDIBLE]. The price will be reduced
based on the recycled methods, or the recycled phases
that it has been through over a period of time. Thank you. All right. [APPLAUSE]

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