Africans Import Used Electronics Because They Are: ______

A)  "Africans buy used because they are Smart."

[Philip Emeagwali]

Emeagwali 1998 "Superbrain of Africa"

- The 1990s used equipment is less susceptible to ESD (electrostatic discharge)

- Equipment which lasts 15 years drops 50% in cost after 2 years.

- Warranty laws that protect consumers in "rich" nations make their used equipment more valuable.

- Capacitors that cost $2.15 can repair a Dell Optiplex worth $800.

- CRTs cost less, but withstand heat and are less prone to theft.

- If you have access to electricity and earn $3,000 per year, a $21 CRT monitor is smarter than a $800 monitor that may or may not work.

- If you are worried about burglary, CRTs are heavier as well as less valuable.

- If you buy new, there's a 33% chance you lose all your money.

- African reuse of WEEE is 85%-91% after repairs.  Brand new has a 33% failure rate.

@TheGuardian finally reports the other side of the "ban on exports" story, as Dell's eyes adjust to the light.  Maybe Africa's "superbrains" are not as primitive as the "experts" told us.  Hope they have stronger legs than HP's Africa venture of 2009 (year that "e-waste export hoax" hit top gears).

Tinkerer's Blessing:

Cities like Accra, Cairo, Douala, Johannesburg and Kinshasa are lighting up, getting internet, getting World Cup Fever, using cell phones, and developing at an unbelievable rate, similar to the way we saw China develop and prosper via "good enough" markets.

I'm still rolling my eyes at how few people in the industry recognize names of Simon Lin, Terry Gou, Rowell Yang, and other Asian "geeks" who built billion dollar companies off of the springboard of repair and refurbishing.    In a another decade, there will be African names Enviros never heard of.

[Philip Emeagwali's Reservoir Equations]
"Investing in education and technology will be our legacy to our children; because it will bring the best out of them as well as all Africans and enable us to reach our potential as individuals, as communities, as a people."
Philip told DRUM it required a lot of hard work, perseverance and dedication for an African to become successful in Europe or North America.  Successful Africans help break the negative prejudices against Africans and inspire the younger generations of Africans to accomplish more."
Not ready to see the #agendashift?  Fill in the blancs ...

B)  "Africans buy used because they are _________________"
(your answer here)

Before you type in your alternative answer, please read the link above about ESD.   As devices get thinner and smaller and components become less "solid state", it takes less and less static electricity to cause faults in an electronic device.  A 1996 Sony Trinitron television could withstand far more discharge than something you buy from Shenzhen.

The "Answer Bs" that I'm hearing are paternalistic, colonialist, alarmist and denigrating.  But then, I read engineering magazines when other reporters are reading "A Place Called Away".

Basics of Electrostatic Discharge
Part One---An Introduction to ESD

The ESD Association
Special to Compliance Engineering Magazine

The decade of the 90's may be remembered as the Decade of Quality in the electronics industry. Increased competition, six-sigma quality, and ISO 9000 have forced a recommitment to quality even in those companies that might not have done so willingly. As we examine our environments for quality improvement areas, electrostatic discharge (ESD) remains a key target.
Static electricity has been an industrial problem for centuries. As early as the 1400's, European and Caribbean forts were using static control procedures and devices to prevent electrostatic discharge ignition of black powder stores. By the 1860's, paper mills throughout the U.S. employed basic grounding, flame ionization techniques, and steam drums to dissipate static electricity from the paper web as it traveled through the drying process. The age of electronics brought with it new problems associated with static electricity and electrostatic discharge. And, as electronic devices became faster and smaller, their sensitivity to ESD increased.
Today, ESD impacts productivity and product reliability in virtually every aspect of today's electronics environment. Many aspects of electrostatic control in the electronics industry also apply in other industries such as clean room applications and graphic arts.
Despite a great deal of effort during the past decade, ESD still affects production yields, manufacturing costs, product quality, product reliability, and profitability. Industry experts have estimated average product losses due to static to range from 8-33% (Table 1). Others estimate the actual cost of ESD damage to the electronics industry as running into the billions of dollars 2 annually. The cost of damaged devices themselves range from only a few cents for a simple diode to several hundred dollars for complex hybrids. When associated costs of repair and rework, shipping, labor, and overhead are included, clearly the opportunities exist for significant improvements. 

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