Africa’s First Smartphone Launched in Rwanda

Rwanda’s Mara Group launched two smartphones on Monday, describing them as the first “Made in Africa” models and giving a boost to the country’s ambitions to become a regional technology hub.

Rwanda President Paul Kagame has announced Africa’s “first high tech smartphone factory,” CNN reported. While smartphones are assembled in other African nations (Egypt, Algeria, and South Africa all have assembly plants), according to Reuters, those companies all import the components. But at Mara, they manufacture the phones from the motherboards to the packaging, which is all done in the new factory. Kagame made the announcement in a press conference on Monday in the capital of Kigali.

“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,” Kagame said.

The Mara Group, a Pan-African business headquartered in Dubai, says the factory will deliver “high-quality smartphones at an affordable price. The phones, called Mara X and Mara Z, are the first “Made in Africa” models and runs on android 8.1 – 9.0. Here are the details:

Mara X model: 16GB storage. Retail: 120,250 Rwandan francs ($130)
Mara Z model: 32GB storage. Retail: 175,750 Rwandan francs ($190)

“This is Africa’s first manufactured smartphone where we a making the mainboard and soft board in Africa, Rwandan made in Rwanda” Ashish Thakkar, Founder of the group said.

Trading is due to begin by July next year, aiming to unite 1.3 billion people and create a $3.4 trillion economic bloc. But it is still in the very early stages.

With a $50 million investment on building a plant which 10,000 phones are expected to be manufactured daily, a capacity of more than 2 million smartphones is expected each year.

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