The global transformation of materials and the emergence of informal urban mining in Accra, Ghana

Richard J. Grant, Martin Oteng-Ababio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

The narrative on global shipments of used electronic devices to Africa is incomplete. It focuses on end-of-life device dumping and on health and environmental hazards for local populations. Utilizing fieldwork and interviews in Accra, Ghana, with e-waste processors, scrap recyclers and exporters, local industries, and the Ghana Customs Excise and Preventive Service officials, as well as analysis of customs trade data, Grant and Oteng-Ababio uncover the development of informal urban mining of valuable metals from used electronics, a practice that calls into question conventional city-mine, consumption-production, and waste-resource spatial oppositions. Urban mining is an important heuristic concept for understanding Accra’s place within the global political economy and for creating and implementing policies for improving the livelihoods of informal e-waste workers in Ghana and elsewhere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-20
Number of pages19
JournalAfrica Today
Volume62
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

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