Rosie Cooper MP

Working hard for the people of West Lancashire

26/10/06 ROSIE COOPER MP SUPPORTS PHONES 4 AFRICA CAMPAIGN

West Lancashire MP, Rosie Cooper is calling on the public to donate their old, unwanted handsets to African countries.

Parliament launched ”Phones 4 Africa”, a campaign which will send old, unwanted mobile phones to be reconditioned and reused in African nations.

Rosie Cooper said:

“Every hour 1712 mobile phones are upgraded in the UK alone after around 18 months of use, despite having a lifespan of around 10 years. If each mobile phone user in the UK were to throw away their handsets we’d be land filling around £650,000 of silver each year.”

“Sending your unwanted mobile phones to developing countries can not only help protect our environment from hazardous waste and toxic chemicals but can help people in developing countries to do business and keep in touch with their families.”

“Wider access to communications in Africa has proven to be an important element in tackling poverty. Having a phone means having a voice and that is the best way to help people out of poverty.”

“With poor infrastructure in roads and transport in African countries, having a mobile phone can be vital to the lives of individuals. Fishermen are able to call around to find the best prices for their stock; children can keep in touch with their parents and more importantly in emergency cases where the nearest hospital is 90 miles away people can call for help and diagnoses, making the difference between life and death.”

“Poor people in African countries are the private sector – farmers, shopkeepers and business managers but they are also the people that need the most help. It is important that we in the UK help them help themselves”

Peter Gabriel, who came to open the campaign launch, said:

“Phones 4 Africa is a brilliant idea. With all the things to be pessimistic in the world, mobile phones are a great reason to be optimistic. Mobiles have been adopted faster in the developing world than in the developed world. They have the capability for improving lives."

"I work with the Mandela Foundation which worked with coffee growers in Zimbabwe who were being ripped off by middle men. As soon as they had mobile phones they were able to get commodity prices directly from the Chicago Exchange. This transformed their local economy."

Prime Minister commented on the campaign:

“Phones 4 Africa is a great idea. It means people in Britain can help thousands of people in Africa use ordinary mobile phones to break out of poverty.” 

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