Agbogbloshie in Accra, Ghana is also known as ‘Sodom and Gomorra’. We visited the place to grasp the stories of the people living and working in on of the biggest electronic waste dump of Africa. One of many economic hotspots in West Africa.

This is a long term, ongoing project in which we follow the lives of different people: from Jacob, to Deejay/Didier to John (Samanla) who returned to the North of Ghana last year. As an anthropologist Steyn has been fascinated by the pull and push factors that play an important role in the lives of many here and elsewhere in West Africa.

A great deal of the electronic waste produced and used in Europe ends up here, without actually realizing the (end) life of their products.

Most of the people living the neighborhood come from Tamale, in the North of Ghana. The Accra Metropolitan Assembly wants to shut and literally break down the neighborhood, but there are protests and civil disobedience everywhere:

“This is our neighborhood and we’ve been living here for decades. The municipality has never looked out for us, on the contrary, they’ve tried to make life here more and more difficult. (anonymous, one of the several chiefs)”

As the majority of the population here is Islamic, the shut down can count on a lot of support from the people from Accra – according to many statements from locals.It is hard to judge on what measures to be taken, but demolishing people’s homes without any compensation is definitely not the way forward.

This project aims to provide a thorough insight in the pull factors to economic hotspots in West Africa, so what drives people to come to these places? What are their expectations? And does it match reality once settled?

‘These places’ are not only known for their huge influx, but also known for their great outflux. So why are people leaving after they’ve just been settled? Is it social, economic, physical or something else driven?

At the same time we aim to look at new ways of production, recycling and pay attention to apparent new opportunities in the (in)direct environment.

This project not only wants to give a better insight, but at the same time aims to change behavior worldwide. Therefore we will work together with a range of (local) organizations and communicate initiatives and ways of changing one’s own consumption pattern, but also lobby towards better work conditions on the ground.


Pull and Push Factors in Agbogbloshie, an insight in Africa’s biggest electronic waste dump


Accra, Ghana


Short Journeys 2015, 2017,
Next and Final Expected end 2018
beginning of 2019