Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News - 09-10-2019
Rwanda’s Mara Group has launched two smartphones describing them as the first “Made in Africa” models.
Reuters reports, the Mara X and Mara Z will use Google’s Android operating system and cost 175,750 Rwandan francs (R 2,890) and 120,250 Rwandan francs (R 1,970).
The two devices are expected to compete with Samsung, whose cheapest smartphone costs 50,000 Rwandan francs (R 823), and non-branded phones at 35,000 Rwandan francs (R 575).
Mara Group CEO Ashish Thakkar says the company is targeting customers willing to pay more for quality.
Thakkar says companies assemble smartphones in Egypt, Ethiopia, Algeria, and South Africa, but import the components.
“We are actually the first who are doing manufacturing. We are making the motherboards, we are making the sub-boards during the entire process. There are over 1,000 pieces per phone.”
Rwandan president Paul Kagame who was also in attendance at the launch says he hopes the phones would increase Rwanda’s smartphone usage, currently at around 15%.
“Rwandans are already using smartphones but we want to enable many more. The introduction of Mara phones will put smartphones ownership within reach of more Rwandans.”
Thakkar says the plant had cost $24 million and could make 1,200 phones per day.