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About Africa Institute

Africa Institute The Organization

The Africa Institute for the Environmentally Sound Management of Hazardous and Other Wastes commonly known as the Africa Institute is both a Basel Convention Regional Centre (BCRC) and a Stockholm Convention Regional Centre (SCRC) for English speaking African countries. It has been established as an Intergovernmental Organization (IGO) based in Pretoria, South Africa. It began operating in October 2009. As an Intergovernmental Organization, its supreme governing body known as Council is composed of the representatives of its member countries. There are altogether 23 countries that comprise the English speaking region in Africa. These include Angola and Mozambique that are commonly known as Portuguese speaking African countries.

As an Intergovernmental Organization, the Africa Institute is established through a treaty that member countries from within the English speaking region must ratify to become full members. This treaty outlines the establishment of the Institute, its management and the obligations of the countries that it serves. There are now eight countries that have ratified this treaty and others are at different stages of the process. The current countries that have completed the process of ratification are: Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Africa and Zambia.

The Africa Institute is established in accordance with Articles 14 of the Basel Convention and Article 12 of the Stockholm Convention. These Articles make provision for the establishment of regional centers to assist Parties in the developing countries and countries with economies in transition to fulfill their obligations under these conventions. The common purpose of the two Conventions is to protect the human health and environment from impacts arising from hazardous wastes and hazardous chemicals respectively. As a regional center the mandate of the Africa Institute is therefore in consonance with that of the Basel and Stockholm conventions and the Institute provides a coordination mechanism within the region.

In keeping with the synergy decision that was taken by the Parties to the Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions, the Africa Institute also serves within the region to address the Rotterdam convention capacity building initiatives as well. The Institute posits itself as a suitable vehicle that the countries in the region will use to also implement the Mercury treaty once it is finalized.

Covernance

The Africa Institute is established through an intergovernmental agreement which has now been signed by 12 African countries, and ratified by 8. All the countries that have ratified the agreement automatically become members of the Institute’s Governing Council. The Governing Council is the supreme body that governs the Africa Institute. The Governing Council may establish standing and ad hoc committees and may also establish working groups. In order to facilitate management of the Institute, the Governing Council has established an Executive Committee which is charged with oversight of day-to-day activities of the Institute. The Executive Committee is made up of 5 countries including the chair and the host. The Chairmanship rotates among members following the alphabetical order of the English names of the member countries. The Secretariat of the Africa Institute is run by the Executive Director who reports to the Executive Committee and ultimately to Council.

The Africa Institute has developed policies that have been adopted by its Council to run it in an accountable and transparent manner. To ensure effective running, the Institute also developed “rules and procedures” policy which outlines rules for holding meetings, representation at meetings, credentials, sanctions for non-payment of membership fees, observers, roles of officers of the Council, and voting. There are also rules on financial management, procurement and auditing.

Governance, management, and institutional arrangements of the Africa Institute

The Africa Institute is established through an intergovernmental agreement which has now been signed by 12 African countries, and ratified by 8. All the countries that have ratified the agreement automatically become members of the Institute’s Governing Council. The Governing Council is the supreme body that governs the Africa Institute. The Governing Council may establish standing and ad hoc committees and may also establish working groups. In order to facilitate management of the Institute, the Governing Council has established an Executive Committee which is charged with oversight of day-to-day activities of the Institute. The Executive Committee is made up of 5 countries including the chair and the host. The Chairmanship rotates among members following the alphabetical order of the English names of the member countries. The Secretariat of the Africa Institute is run by the Executive Director who reports to the Executive Committee and ultimately to Council.

The Africa Institute has developed policies that have been adopted by its Council to run it in an accountable and transparent manner. To ensure effective running, the Institute also developed “rules and procedures” policy which outlines rules for holding meetings, representation at meetings, credentials, sanctions for non-payment of membership fees, observers, roles of officers of the Council, and voting. There are also rules on financial management, procurement and auditing.

Mission

To build the capacity within the English speaking African region to implement effectively the multilateral environmental agreements that address the sound management of hazardous wastes and chemicals thereby preserving the environment for future generations employing education and transparency of operations to build an agency that will serve as a model throughout the African region.

Vision

To protect the human health and the environment from the hazardous wastes and chemicals in the member states.

Values

Team work: The Institute embodies the spirit of working together, achieving together and succeeding together. This is the fundamental cornerstone that weaves together all the initiatives of the Institute.

Professionalism: The Institutes believes in ethical, honest and accountable approach that inculcates unity in diversity and respect for all regardless of colour, creed, religion and origin.

Transparency: The Institute believes in open, fair, honest, accountable and equitable sharing and exchange of information. Commitment: The Institute believes in dedicated, aspirational, hardworking, results oriented and time conscious approach.

Dr Taelo Letsela
Executive Director
 PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA
(+27) (012) 399 9861
Dr Koebu Khalema
Program Officer
 PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA
(+27) (012) 399 9863
Ms Neo Masha
Office Administrator
(+27) (012) 399 9862
Ms Daphney Tshipepele
Accountant
(+27) (012) 399 9864
Mr James Mulolo
Projects Co-ordinator
(+27) (012) 399 9866

Milestones and Foot-Print of Africa Institute
Since the New Inception of the Institute, a number of partnerships have been forged successfully and cooperation started working with:

  • Government of Denmark
  • Government of Sweden, through The Swedish Chemical Agency(KemI)
  • Government of Finland, through MFA and with Finnish Environment Authority (SYKE)
  • Relevant United Nations Agencies, such as UNEP, UNIDO, UNITAR

These Institutions provide much needed Financial and technical support to the Institute, and allowed it to mount the critical skills, through current professional staff of the Institute. It was through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland that three professional staff members were employed; these are highly qualified personnel with Masters and Ph.D. qualifications in Chemistry, Environmental Management and Ecology.

The Institute has implemented and executed several projects running in most ratified and non-ratified member countries. The following projects have been successfully completed: