We had to face a tough truth this week. The fact is that we are complicit in the perpetuation of horrible crimes against humanity. And if you’re reading this right now, it’s likely that you are too.
If you’re an enthusiastic user of the useful tech products made by the likes of Apple, Sony and Samsung (as we are), then you’re contributing to the on-going exploitation of children as young as seven years of age in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In this week’s episode of the African Tech Round-up, Tefo Mohapi and Andile Masuku discuss the disturbing implications of an exposé recently put out by Amnesty International and African Resources Watch (Afrewatch), which names and shames leading technology manufacturers who use cobalt sourced in the DRC in lithium-ion batteries found in their products. (Fast fact: The DRC produces at least 50% of the world's cobalt.)
There’s no doubt that there’s an argument for how companies and governments need to be held to account, but we as consumers need to realise that ultimately, it is we who wield the greatest economic leverage to influence commercial and political interests to act ethically.
The pertinent question is therefore less, “What will they do about it?” but more, “What are we going to do about it?”