Rwanda based technology company Mara Corporation and Rwandan government officials have announced the rollout of a factory to produce smartphones, Mara Phone, in Rwanda.
The plan was unveiled by Rwanda’s Minister for ICT and innovation, Paula Ingabire while appearing in a Parliamentary Committee last Thursday. While announcing the plans, she pointed out that smartphones are important tools for ICT.
“To ensure smartphones become affordable, different strategies are needed to ensure each household has a smart device and digital literacy. We hope that the plant to locally produce smartphones will boost access,” Ingabire said.
The Minister further disclosed that once the factory begins to produce the smartphones people will make payments in instalments up to 24 months. She reiterated that they are working with telecommunication companies to find ways they can reduce internet cost hence boost ICT penetration.
Rwandan government anticipates that by April 2019, activities of processing the smartphones will be underway.
The new development comes hardly four months since Mara Corporation announced they were investing USD 100 Mn in South Africa to produce high tech and affordable smartphones under the Mara Phone brand.
Mara founder, Ashish Thakkar in a report by New York Times Rwanda divulged that over 400 million smartphones are in use in Africa and none of them is made in Africa.
“As an African brand, as an African company, made in Africa, made by Africans, it’s time we create these jobs on our continent,” he said.
Thakkar observed that the manufacture of phones is on the rise and it is anticipated to hit a billion in a few years. The initial target market for smartphones would be first-time African smartphone users.