Yaya Koné: the man transforming waste into raw material

Published on 15/01/2020

In Abidjan, a region in which the volume of plastic waste is destined to increase over the coming years, managing and upcycling this waste is a major challenge with regard to sustainable development.

An African startup, a pioneer in solidarity economy initiatives in Côte d’Ivoire, intends to respond to this challenge and shift public policies concerning the environment.

Yaya Koné is the co-founder of COLIBA, a startup that wants to improve the collection and transformation of waste into raw material by notably providing innovative services via digital technology. As a reminder, COLIBA is a web, mobile and SMS application, and has recently exceeded 20,000 downloads.

This platform’s main added value is that it enables households to estimate the value of the waste they produce and then convert it, depending on the volume of recyclable material provided and in accordance with their requirements, into Internet data or basic food. The startup also offers high-value-added services to companies by collecting their plastic waste and organising team building exercises on behavioural management.

Yaya Koné’s strategy is to dope their production capacity from the first quarter of 2020, which would enable them to increase their share of waste collection to over 15% on the Ivorian market. With his team, the aim is to recruit an additional 50 people to take the number of staff working in their waste-sorting centre to 100. To achieve this, in 2020 the startup is planning to expand its waste recycling plant on a site three times larger than the current one. In the longer term, COLIBA wants to expand into other countries, including Senegal and Nigeria. This regional vision should allow Yaya Koné and his team to position themselves as the PET recycling leader in Sub-Saharan Africa. Lastly, Yaya Koné wants to share his expertise and encourage decisionmakers to take waste management more into account, helping instigate a new environmental policy in Côte-d’Ivoire.

by Jean-Marc André