Inside Nigeria's sprawling secondhand computer village

At the Ikeja Computer Village in Lagos, Nigeria, 1992 keyboards abound, and laser printers are stacked like firewood.

"In God we Trust." One of the several signs over a corner of the Ikeja Computer Village

One might best describe Lagos, Nigeria's Computer Village as a harried community of electronics vendors, traders, scammers, and shoppers. Shops pour out onto the street touting everything from fully built desktop computers to stacks of scanners to mobile phone recharge cards, and there's a steady flow of people, vehicles, and vendors choking the streets.

This is where office computer equipment goes to live a second life. Used peripherals are piled waist high, with clouds of mice and cables tangled up like bowls of spaghetti and meatballs. Clicky keyboards from 1992 sit next to laser keyboards from 2012, and laser printers are stacked on street corners like firewood.

Everything is for sale, and everything should be haggled for. A used 6" micro USB cable cost just under $3 after some back-and-forth while a questionably new 8GB SD card ran around $24.

The village flourishes with streets packed with shoppers. And like in any center of commerce, a secondary market has developed as well. Corn, pineapple, and oranges are the favorites on the streets here, as well as boiled peanuts and suya, West Africa's version of shish kebab.

The result is a sprawling community several blocks square that is an ecosystem of city life and electronic commerce.


  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated September 05 2013 03:59 PM ET
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