The scope of the Convention is confined to hazardous wastes, though not wastes from ship discharges covered by another Convention. Hazardous substances banned, cancelled or refused registration by government regulatory action for health or environmental reasons, are defined as hazardous wastes under the Convention. Radioactive wastes are covered also by the Convention (art. 2). Parties agree to enact legislation identifying and categorising hazardous wastes not already listed in the Convention (art. 3).
The purpose of the Convention is to prohibit the import of all hazardous and radioactive wastes into the African continent for any reason; minimize and control transboundary movements of hazardous wastes within the African continent; prohibit all ocean and inland water dumping or incineration of hazardous wastes; ensure that disposal of wastes is conducted in an “environmentally sound manner”; promote cleaner production over the pursuit of a permissible emissions approach based on assimilative capacity assumptions; and establish the precautionary principle.