“The organizations shipping in these used computers are being paid to get them out of those countries, but are disguising themselves as donors assisting Kenya’s schools. It is cheaper for companies in the developed world to pay these organizations to bring the computers here than destroy them”, said an official in the Information and Communications Ministry, Bitange Ndemo, cited by Kenyan publication Business Daily.
Ndemo encouraged the use of new computers, adding that there was no need for imported second hand hardware in the country. According to him, new computers last up to 8 years, compared to second-hand equipment that have a 3 year life span.
The was a significant increase in imported second-hand computers after the government introduced zero-rated duty on these goods in 2006. A study by Eco Ethics International conducted in 2007 revealed that the number of imported second-hand computers doubled following the removal of VAT in the country.
The ministry will propose that the treasury include a ban on used computers in the country’s Budget for next year.
According to an electronic waste study conducted in Kenya, in 2007 the country was responsible for 3,000 tons of e-waste, mainly computers, monitors and printers.