Rwanda launches ‘first made-in-Africa’ smartphones

Rwanda has opened Africa’s first smartphone manufacturing plant in the capital, Kigali, in an event attended by President Paul Kagame.

Manufactured by technology company Mara Group, the Mara X and Mara Z smartphones will use Google’s Android operating system and cost 175,750 Rwandan francs $190; Pound 155 and 120,250 Rwandan francs $130;Pound 106 respectively.

This is the first smartphone manufacturer in Africa, Mara Group CEO Ashish Thakkar said during a tour of the plant.

The company was targeting customers willing to pay more for quality, Mr Thakkar said.

But most phones sold in Africa are from Chinese companies, which offer dual SIM cards and are cheaper than Mara’s planned price point.

Companies assemble smartphones in Egypt, Ethiopia, Algeria and South Africa, but import the components, Mr Thakkar said.

We are actually the first who are doing manufacturing. We are making the mother boards, we are making the sub-boards during the entire process There are over 1,000 pieces per phone, he added.

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

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

Source: Voice of Nigeria