I T I S L E G A L
|See video of African Reuse|
The "fine print" behind in the UNEP / UNU headline. 75% of the imported used electronics work, and are preferred by African consumers because they perform better than affordable new ones. Of the 25% that require repair, Nigeria's Tech Sector is the best on earth at repairing them.
First the Good News about United Nations University's "Person in the Port Project" (2018). "Assessing Import of Used Electrical and Electronic Equipment Into Nigeria"...
- The 2018 PiP report avoids the pitfall of poverty porn photos (its 2015 report was cringeworthy)
- The report correctly describes the use of otherwise "unused space" in automobiles (West Africa's #1 used goods import) to move laptops, computers, and other household electronics (and clothes, and jacuzzis, etc).
- They involved 2 African authors, Olusegun Odeyingbo (UNU), and Dr. Innocent Nnorom, BCCC Africa (along with Dr. Olmar Desozer of UNU - ViE SCYCLE)
"The high skill level of Nigeria’s refurbishing sector, with the ability to fix many technical defects in UEEE at reasonable service cost, also motivates importers to import both functioning and non-functioning electronic equipment to Nigeria."Well done.
The problem is in the press release, and the headline. They claim something that is rational and environmentally sound is nevertheless illegal. And the press release (apparently written by a freaked out white Starbucks barista) calls for law enforcement... without quoting or interviewing the black people who loaded and unloaded the containers.
Africans are in control of this whole trade. This report does a lot to document that, reversing the narrative that unethical OECD sham recyclers are responsible.
So it doesn't get an "F". It correctly describes the loading and unloading, and the financial transactions. Better dressed, better facts, and with credible African co-authors. But where is the crime? Where is the waste dumping?
Recalling Booker T. Washington - the report reads like a compromise. It describes the good outcomes in Africa, but still extends a sturdy olive branch to the WEEE policy hawks who constantly impugn trade with geeks of color in rapidly emerging markets like Nigeria. A sturdy branch for the European E-Wastes lynch mob, who continue hunting down African technicians.