New electronic devices are in short supply due to a global shortage of semiconductors, affecting particularly the production of new laptops, desktops and tablets.

This is the word from Kwirirai Rukowo, GM of Qrent, who comments: “Currently, companies have been waiting for very long lead times for new stock to arrive and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) locally and globally cannot meet the demand.”

Refurbished devices are helping to fill the gap, he says. They enable significant costs savings and also contribute to the circular economy.

“Africa has been using circular economic principles for generations,” Rukowo says. “As new business models and technologies emerge, opportunities can be harvested by a variety of commercial sectors. Our experience in Africa has assisted us to roll out this solution to the UK where our second-life offering has been enthusiastically embraced by corporate enterprises.

Rukowo explains that initially the chip shortages were thought to be nothing more than a temporary delay in supplies as factories shut down when Covid-19 first hit.

“The shortage is a direct result of the pandemic which increased demand for personal electronics such as cell phones and laptops to an extent where production could not keep pace with demand,” he adds.

This demand surge is being driven by the change in working models with so many people around the world being shifted into remote gear to work from home.

“Leasing and subsequent refurbishment and repurposing of IT assets overcomes the short lifespan challenge typically associated with IT assets and aligns with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 12 on responsible consumption and production,” notes Rukowo.

He adds that refurbished computers keep hardware in circulation for longer and away from landfills.