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Extended Product Lifespan Abroad - Assessing Repair Sector in Ghana

: Groscurth, Balthasar; Batteiger, Alexander; Deubzer, Otmar; Jaeger-Erben, Melanie

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Schneider-Ramelow, Martin ; Fraunhofer-Institut für Zuverlässigkeit und Mikrointegration -IZM-, Berlin; TU Berlin:
International Congress "Electronics Goes Green 2020+". Proceedings : The Story of Daisy, Alexa and Greta, September 1, 2020, Berlin, Germany, virtual
Stuttgart: Fraunhofer Verlag, 2020
ISBN: 978-3-8396-1659-8
International Congress "Electronics Goes Green 2020+" <2020, Online>
Conference Paper, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IZM ()

Informal e-waste recycling in the Global South is a well-known phenomenon thoroughly described in the literature. So far, there are only few studies focusing the repair and the associated reuse of electronic devices. This contribution is trying to fill this gap with an empirical field study in Southern Ghana. Methods are proposed that facilitate the investigation of repair activities, the training of repairers and costs and success factors for repair businesses. 29 interviews with repairers and 6 experts of the repair sector have been interviewed with semi-structured interviews. In addition, a method for analysing the extended service lifespan abroad was developed and tested with 86 data points. Results reveal that around 83% of all repairers interviewed had no formal training in the field. More than 80% of all devices can be repaired and thus the serviceable life can be significantly extended, in some cases even tripled. Spare parts are mainly obtained from old equipment. The cost of a repair is low, so devices are repaired several times before they are replaced with new ones. Future research must show how inexpensive new products specifically designed for developing countries influence repair presence and practices.