News / Economy

For 10 Cents a Pop, Nigerians Charge Phones at Shop

FILE - Jamil Idriss charges 50 naira ($0.33) to recharge phone batteries using rows of three-pin sockets nailed to a plank of wood and plugged into a diesel generator in the Obalende district of Lagos, Nigeria, May 20, 2010.
FILE - Jamil Idriss charges 50 naira ($0.33) to recharge phone batteries using rows of three-pin sockets nailed to a plank of wood and plugged into a diesel generator in the Obalende district of Lagos, Nigeria, May 20, 2010.
Heather Murdock
— Government electricity has never extended to most of Nigeria's countryside but mobile phones are everywhere.  To meet the demand for electricity to keep those phones going, some enterprising villagers have opened "charge shops" where customers can power their phones and help lift the shop owner out of poverty.

There are only a few hundred people in the village of Kakora, which is deep in the forest in northern Nigeria, and most are subsistence farmers, growing maize, cassava and yams to survive. 

Kakora homes are made of mud and straw, and none of them have electricity.  But just about every one of them has at least one cell phone. 

As he left a morning church service, Edward Sunday said it would be a mistake to assume that Kakora residents didn’t need those phones, not to mention Facebook and Twitter.

“Especially the young ones that are coming up.  We are educated now.  We are connected to more things now,” he said.

Sunday said his father had a generator that can charge his phone, but they didn’t always have enough fuel to operate it.  In a pinch, he said, for less than the cost of fuel, he could also bring his phone to one of the shops popping up all over the countryside. 

For 5 to 10 cents, he said, you could charge your phone at the shop on a single small generator.

“You will see more than 10 phones there because everybody is trying to charge his phone so he can connect to his people,” said Sunday.
 
In the town square, another man, Kojeyat, put his phone in his pocket, saying he's out of power and out of cash.  He asked a passerby if he could borrow 20 Nigerian naira -- about 10 cents -- for a charge.

Kojeyat said that a few kilometers from the village there was an area with electricity where he could charge for free.  But he said, the remote roads in this region, which is plagued by sectarian violence and insurgency, were dangerous, especially at night.

“Due to that problem you couldn’t charge the phone because of the risks along the road and everything like that.  So we face a lot of challenges in the village,” said Kojeyat.

On a hilltop outside of town -- where people went to use their charged phones because of poor reception in the village -- a shop owner said he often charged 50 phones a night, making a small profit in a place where there were almost no other business opportunities.   

Despite the poverty, Kojeyat said life in Kakora wa quiet and happy.  But he may have to move out because he’s not a farmer and didn't have a generator shop.  To start another kind business, he said, he needed enough electricity to keep his phone on.

(Ibrahim Yakubu contributed to this report from Kaduna state.)

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mohammad from: Afghanistan
November 05, 2013 1:48 AM
Just couldn't undrestand the first sentence of the last parageraph

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.