Africa Doesn't Want Your Crappy Old Mobile Phones

from the ok,-sorry-about-that dept

For a while now, we’ve been hearing all these stories about why you should donate your old mobile phone, so that it can be sent to a developing nation where they can use it to help improve communications infrastructure. In fact, just last year we saw African leaders asking for mobile phones to help build up the economies there. At the time, we pointed out that “just adding mobile phones” wasn’t likely to solve the more serious issues those countries faced, but it still wasn’t a bad idea if other issues were being worked on. However, it appears that some African nations are overwhelmed with secondhand mobile phones that just aren’t very good and are looking to ban the importation of secondhand phones.

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Comments on “Africa Doesn't Want Your Crappy Old Mobile Phones”

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me says:

Re: cell phones

PROVIDENCE — The Women’s Center of Rhode Island is seeking used cell phones, which will be sold to raise money for shelters for victims of domestic violence.

The phones can be dropped off at the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 411 Post Road, Warwick.

Shelter Alliance, a program designed to raise funds for domestic violence shelters, will buy the phones. The proceeds are used by shelter operators for rent, food, counseling and legal and hotline services.

Anyone donating a phone should specify that it is for the Women’s Center of Rhode Island.

For information, call Kim Sebastiao at (401) 861-2761.

Greg Nelson says:

Mobile Phones

How do you define major?

Really simple things can have a big impact.

I know of programmes to distribute mountain bikes to southern american countries because it allows people to extend their reach of economic activity. Instead of only working up to a maximum of say 10km from their home by walking, they can work up to 40km by riding. This makes for a more effective market place for skills.

The story I hear about mobile phones is that a problem they have found is that middle men use farmers lack of pricing information on their produce to take advantage of them. So what the farmers can now do is get up to the hour prices for their produce.

Giving money to there countries is nice. But the only way this problem is going to be fixed is through ensuring their economic viability.

Pete Austin says:

Re: Fair trade, not dumped aid

Re: “I know of programmes to distribute mountain bikes to southern american countries because it allows people to extend their reach of economic activity.”

This sort of thing can have the unfortunate side-effect of killing any local business that tries to set up e.g. bike manufacturing.

It would be better to distribute bikes *from* South American and African companies, so that local businesses can make profits, employ more people, and also produce cheap bikes for the locals with the benefits that Greg mentions.

To help people’s economic viability, buy their products at a fair price. Don’t subsidise products from rich countries, either by governments dumping farm products, or charities dumping dud mobile phones.

Greg Nelson says:

Re: Re: Fair trade, not dumped aid

Yes, that is a potential side effect.

Though that isn’t really something that’s aimed for places that have the captial to set up manufacturing facilities.

These are the sort of people who chronically poor, and wouldn’t be able to afford a bike no matter what the cost.

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