Scholars and practitioners have highlighted the importance of digital innovations in the drive towards a circular plastic economy. Therefore this paper investigates the role of digital innovators and the public's response to digital innovations on the African continent. The study draws from four focus groups, and cross-sectional surveys of 33 digital innovators and 1475 community members across 20 low-middle income communities in five African countries. The results indicate that, while digital innovators are strongly optimistic and highly motivated, their engagement and impact on the circular plastic economy ecosystem are limited by a range of institutional, infrastructural and socio-cultural factors. Furthermore, results from the regression models of cross-sectional data of community members show that understanding of the technologies and perceived ease of use have significant positive impacts on uptake of technological innovations for the circular plastic economy, and perceived ease of use is also a significant moderator of barriers to adoption. The findings underline the need for a well-informed and motivated cohort of digital innovators to promote diffusion of circular plastic innovations. It also emphasizes the importance of a more collaborative, multistakeholder and multi-sectoral synergy to create a critical mass of the consumer public needed to break the linear economy lock-in mechanisms and accelerate the transition to a circular plastic economy in Africa.
Bibliographical note© 2022 The Authors. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
This work was supported by the UKRI GCRF under Grant EP/T029846/1.
- Circular economy
- Circular plastic economy
- Digital innovations
- Technology acceptance
- Technology lock-in
- Technology readiness