Rwanda Unveil First 'Made In Africa' Smartphones

Africa

The First Made-In-Africa Smartphone Is Officially Out After Today’s Presidential Launch

By 
Nzekwe Henry

Africa The First Made-In-Africa Smartphone Is Officially Out After Today’s Presidential Launch By Nzekwe Henry

Opening the ceremony, Rwandan President Paul Kagame commended the drive towards affordable smartphones and underlined the need to boost the adoption of high-tech products in his country.

Workers display the Mara X and Mara Z smartphones during their launch by Rwanda's Mara Group in Kigali, Rwanda October 7, 2019.

"Mara Phones strongly believes that Smartphone manufacturing will bring huge pride to the African continent being locally made in Africa". They will compete with Samsung, whose cheapest smartphone costs 50,000 Rwandan francs ($54), and non-branded phones at 35,000 Rwandan francs ($37).

"What we have around Africa are basically mobile phone assembling plants". But according to Mara Group CEO Ashish Thakkar, Mara is for those who pay more for quality.

But all in all, the launch of the first smartphone to be completely produced on the continent is a laudable achievement and one that would hopefully spur further developments along this path.

"Today is a big dream come true not only for Mara but also for Rwanda and Africa. We are making the motherboards, we are making the sub-boards during the entire process", he said.

"This is manufacturing not assembling", Thakkar added.

He said the plant had cost $24m and could make 1,200 phones per day.

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The first phones made in Rwanda rolled off the assembly line last week at the factory located at Kigali special economic zone.

Kagame said he hoped the phone would increase Rwanda's smartphone usage, now at around 15%.

Paul Kagame gave his thumbs-up to the efforts led by Mara Phones to provide as many Rwandans as possible with smartphones.

"The smartphone is no longer a luxury item, it is rapidly becoming a requirement of everyday life", he said.

"That trend is bound to increase in the years to come as more and more services migrate to digital platforms".

In a series of tweets from the presidency, Kagame was quoted saying: "The introduction of Mara Phones will put smartphone ownership within reach of more Rwandans".

President Paul Kagame said he hoped the phone would increase Rwanda's smartphone usage, now at around 15percent.

Mara also capitalized on the general goodwill that Rwanda is enjoying in the business community not only in Africa but globally.

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