In a bid to boost the adoption of high-tech products in East Africa, President Paul Kagame has launched the first African Smartphone Manufacturing Factory in Kigali’s Special Economic Zone, Rwanda.
Mara Phones Production Plant (MP3)
The smartphone factory, Mara Phones Production Plant, was launched on Monday, October 7. The Plant is a complex manufacturing operation, requiring significant technical skill and expertise. It has the capacity to manufacture 2 million smartphones in a year.
Speaking at the ceremony, Ashish Thakkar, founder and chief executive officer of Mara Group, said that the company aims to manufacture high quality smartphones at an affordable price. “We realized a few years ago that to create positive social impact on our continent and in emerging markets we need to have high quality and affordable smartphones. That’s when we came up with the Mara Phones.” Ashish said at the launch.
Rwanda’s ICT Minister Paula Ingabire hopes the plant can play a role in creating jobs and developing skills. The development of the country is the Mara’s top priority. In that light, 90% of the 650 expected employees are Rwandans and 60% of them are women.
According to Rwanda’s ministry of information and technology, the number of phone owners grew from 33% in 2010 to 80.6% this year. Mara Phones’ new factory will start by manufacturing two phone models, the Mara X and the Mara Z. They will retail at $130 and $190 respectively. They are promising that the phones will be of high quality and feature 16GB and 32GB worth of storage respectively.
Mara also states that the entirety of the product, from the motherboard all the way to the packaging is going to be produced and assembled in Rwanda.
Rwanda has been enjoying rapid economic growth and has gained a reputation as a hub of innovation. This move by Mara will help boost the development of the country and Africa as a whole.