Cassava Smartech, part of the Econet group, today launched Clean City, a new business whose goal is to provide sustainable waste management in urban areas, in partnership with local authorities and the private sector.
Speaking at the launch event in Harare, Clean City CEO Mr Lovemore Nyatsine said the new business would offer innovative and sustainable waste management solutions using the Vaya App. and in partnership with local authorities and private operators.
“We are excited to be officially unveiling Clean City today, with the goal of providing scalable and sustainable waste management solutions to cities in Zimbabwe, starting with the capital Harare,” Mr Nyatsine.
The event was attended by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Mr Munesuishe Munodawafa, Government representatives, Clean City waste disposal partners, Harare City Council representatives, city councillors, representatives of Residents Associations, the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), some students from some Harare schools and the media, among many organizations.
Mr Nyatsine said the idea of using the ‘Uber type’ Vaya App for urban waste collection was probably a first in the world, adding that Clean City would use the App to connect and seamlessly link different parties in the garbage collection and waste disposal cycle.
“We will use the Vaya App – which has already proved to be a game changer in mobility and logistics services in the country – to seamlessly connect a network of privately owned garbage collectors to help with waste management in the city,” he said.
In his address at the event, the Permanent Secretary for Environment and Tourism Mr Munodawafa lauded the Econet group and Cassava for launching Clean City.
“We applaud you for bringing innovation and technology to help deal with the real problem of garbage pollution and uncleanliness in our cities, which has in the past contributed to fatal disease outbreaks,” he said.
He commended CleanCity for coming up with a partnership model that would see private players and Urban Councils collaborate in ensuring a clean environment while at the same time warning the Councils not to “abrogate their responsibilities” to private players, who he said were stepping up help them, not to replace them.
Mr Nyatsine said Clean City had been carrying out trials of the concept for several months, mainly testing the service in the capital Harare.
“We started doing the trials in Harare some months back, piloting the concept the same way Uber connects food outlets with customers to provide food delivery,” Mr Nyatsine said.
“But we were connecting a network of small privately owned garbage collectors, using the App to have residents schedule collections, and getting the garbage collectors to collect and dispose of the garbage” he said.
“The App will help improve efficiencies and manage costs by allowing business owners and partners in the value chain to know exactly where every vehicle is, and to track the amount of garbage collected and even manage fuel usage,” Mr Nyatsine said.
Municipal authorities have for years struggled to provide garbage collection services for household and corporate residents due to several challenges.
But the launch of Clean City, offering an innovative private solution, will bring a welcome respite for residents while creating win-win partnership opportunities for private businesses and city councils.
Mr Nyatsine said Clean City’s vision was to become the top waste management company in Zimbabwe and beyond.
To use the service, residents simply download the Vaya App and schedule garbage collections and payments can be made using EcoCash.
Mr Nyatsine said Clean City had already started getting inquiries from outside Zimbabwe.
“We have already received enquiries from elsewhere on the continent, but we will not be able to do anything out there before next year as we need to roll out across Zimbabwe first.” Mr Nyatsine said.
Many African municipal authorities have struggled with waste collection and disposal. The Clean City platform may well create an interesting opportunity for them to pursue.