Car scrap yard and scrap metal sales: a booming business in Ouagadougou

In Burkina Faso, and particularly in Ouagadougou, the car scrapping and scrap metal sector is a source of income and employment. There are many Burkinabeans who excel in this area even if they are in the shadows, just like the activity itself.

Sylvester Kabore is a boy in his twenties whom life has not given a gift. Unlike children of his age, his studies were interrupted due to lack of financial resources from his parents. To meet his needs and help his mother as much as possible to bear the expenses of the family, he decided to go to the informal sector. He cut his teeth in the “dead iron” trade.

At the time, he was only 15 years old. But the task is still not as simple as this young merchant imagined. On foot since five in the morning we will join him at 7 in the morning in the Rimkita area where he does business. Immediately, our eyes are quickly drawn to a pile of scrap metal consisting, among other things, of bicycle and motorcycle tires, plates or empty cans.

Sylvester Kabore

Mr. Ouédraogo is the first person in charge of the building. Every morning the president gives him 10,000-15,000 CFA francs as working capital, to be repaid in the evening. Equipped with a cart, the latter moves around the city’s garages and warehouses, often under the scorching sun, to buy and resell his collection. He doesn’t come home until dark. His daily earnings vary by market.

On good days, he could get as much as 50,000 CFA francs a day. “In my recipe for the day, I deduct the amount borrowed from my boss,” he tells us. With his savings, Mr. Kabore does other activities at the same time, including gardening, which makes him feel completely satisfied.

Like him, there are a lot of young people, adults and old people who are involved in similar activities. Among them, urine Nekima. For about ten years, he and his siblings continued their late father’s business in Kot Yar (Iron Market), a vast market that stretches from Larli district to neighboring Rimkieta district. We took a tour to better unravel the mystery. As soon as we arrived, we were greeted with a strong smell of rust emanating from the iron piles placed all over the place. While everyone is busy cutting large iron bars with a chisel, Mr. Nikiyama is in the middle of an argument with a customer over the phone. At this time of the year, the market is not only favorable due to the security crisis but also due to other uncertainty factors.

For Paul Nikima, his activities are slowing down

Speaking of his method of supply, this scrap metal operator says he has a well-stocked address book. These suppliers are mostly made up of young retailers. He also gets his supplies from other people, especially acquaintances. Not far from there (editor’s note, you’ll still have to make a big tour to get there), Adama Zongo specializes in scrapping cars and selling vehicle wheel hubs.

As part of his business, the latter buys trucks from local garages. We disassemble vehicles to extract all parts in good condition that can be reused for retail sale. In addition to the non-refundable parts,” he explains. This hard work involves several people.

He is married with three children, and Mr. Zongo appears to be comfortable with his work. When luck smiles at him, he can end up with a salary of between 200,000 and 250,000 CFA francs in a single day. The market is certainly booming, but it is volatile, according to Purima Borgo, another auto breaker. “You can win or lose. I actually bought a car for 1 million CFA francs and resold the parts for 500,000 CFA francs or even less,” he recalls.

According to Adama Zongo, his work brings him satisfaction

In the field of auto scrapping, unlike heavy parts, it is easier to sell scrap metal even if the price does not always meet the expectations of the players in the sector. A ton of scrap amounts to 190,000 CFA francs. However, the car is not only made of iron, ”assures Mr. Borgo. Despite this difficulty, he says that he works well, he employs dozens of people. This number may increase depending on the market.

A thief’s den?

This vast place of business has a bad reputation as a home for thieves. The locals we contacted also complained of deafening noises and unhealthy ground. In the past, municipal authorities (in the time of Mayor Simon Compaore, editor’s note) have taken measures to clean and secure the Larley and Rimquita areas, which are chaotically occupied by auto cutters and scrap workers. In this dynamic, they have been allocated a site in Bisigine, at the northern exit of the city of Ouagadougou, so that they can quietly run their business.

If some people build there to park wrecks or sell their space, we can count at your fingertips those who have invested in the place to do their activities. Among the few people, there is Ladji Abd al-Rasmani and Dragou who is known by the pseudonym of Rasmane Koutou (iron in the Māori language).

A view of the players’ position in the sector

The latter, who claims to be the first inhabitant, arrived on May 4, 2007, more than a year after the land was allotted. Without the language of wood, she reconsiders the circumstances that led her to this site. I was working as an auto crusher in kot yar. After complaints from the natives to the municipal authorities, we took steps so that the town hall finds us another framework. Thank God it was done,” he said at the beginning of his remarks.

However, life in this part of Ouagadougou is not easy, as there are many difficulties: poor road conditions, water and electricity problems. Not to mention the insecurity. In addition to these shortcomings noted on the ground, old Rasmani Koto also points the finger at the lack of a health center. But in the auto scrapping business, accidents are not prevented. “We also do not have a document confirming that this part of the site belongs to an individual,” he deplored.

Rasman Koto defies the authorities

This situation can have serious consequences if nothing is done to treat it. With the administration being a continuum, the sexual women wish the new authorities could look into their case. Alone at first, he now has a new neighbor, Didier Gessot. The great auto mechanic just moved there a couple of months ago. He is sorry for the scarcity of customers. However, this does not discourage him, because all work, he says, involves experiments.

Scrap metal workers want to export their goods

In the past, scrap metal was exported to countries like Ghana and Togo. In 2019, the government decided to suspend the export of iron to support the development of the foundry industries in Burkina Faso, by ensuring the availability of scrap metal at the national level. This restriction has caused and continues to cause dissatisfaction.

According to the head of the National Federation of Scrap Metal Dealers in Burkina Faso, Mohamed Dako, there are about 300,000 scrap metal workers in Burkina.

“In the scrap we buy, there is steel, cast iron and light scrap. CIM-METAL works only with light scrap which is only 20% of our goods. We are not against the scrap metal processing industry, but we simply want to have a license to export scrap metal that doesn’t require it” , pleads the president of the National Federation of Scrap Metal Traders of Burkina Faso (SNCFB), Mohamed Dako.

In addition to this hiccup, environmental control irritates scrap dealers. In order to work for the free movement of goods, steps have been taken with the ministries responsible for trade, environment and finance. Pledges have been made to this effect. The authorities promised us an order.

Our services at a lower cost, according to DGPE’s Head of Pollution and Nuisance Prevention, Anselme Somé

Unfortunately, since December until today, no one has been able to obtain any document that would allow him to export scrap. In advance, to obtain a positive opinion from the Ministry of the Environment in the framework of our activity, it is necessary to liquidate at least 800,000 CFA francs. An amount that is not within the reach of all scrap dealers, ”the head of SNCFB offended. However, in addition to feeding his man, the sector is a provider of jobs, he said.

We contacted the Directorate General for Environmental Protection (DGPE) to verify Mr. Dako’s statements regarding the costs of authorizing the collection, storage, transportation, handling and recovery of waste.

The head of the DGPE Pollution and Discomfort Prevention Department, Anselme Somé, has opened his office to us. Regarding the question, he clarified: “All that the investor pays to the DGPE is fifteen thousand CFA francs to cover secretarial expenses.

He then pays the cost of the investigation or oversight task when the authorization is renewed. The cost of the fact-finding mission in Ouagadougou is estimated at 40,000 CFA. Outside Wagga, the travel costs are broken down as follows: 27,000 per day (three agents in total) and 2,000 francs per day for the driver.”

Waste collection, storage, transportation, treatment and recovery are licensed on the basis of Article 53 of the Burkina Faso Environmental Code which states that any structure must have a license from the Ministry of Environment.

In this sense, the promoter submits a file that includes a sealed application addressed to the DGPE, a copy of the trade and personal property credit registry, an order of feasibility or environmental compliance, a favorable opinion of the local authority, and a description of the hazardous solid waste management process.

Aïssata Laure G. Sidibé

Leave a Comment