Rwanda launches the 1st smartphone manufacturing factory in Africa
African young people reading a smartphone message. [File Photo: VCG]
Africa has taken a big step forward in its development of mobile technology with the launch of the domestically-made Maraphone range of smartphones. Produced by the local tech firm Mara, the range includes the Mara X, which sells for 130 U.S. dollars, and the Mara Z, which is 190 U.S. dollars.
On Monday, Rwanda launched the first smartphone manufacturing factory in Africa, according to Techzim, an information technology and business publication focused on Zimbabwe and the greater African region.
Mara's smartphone factory is expected to produce two million handsets a year.
Countries like Egypt and South Africa have assembly plants where smartphones are put together using imported components. By contrast, Mara's factory will make the majority of the components in Rwanda that will go into Mara's phones, explained Ashish Thakkar, the founder of Mara Group.
"China has Huawei, Xiaomi; the U.S. has iPhone. And finally, Africa has Maraphone," said the Mara founder. "This project will show the potential and ability that Africa can produce high-quality and affordable smartphones in Africa, by Africans, for Africans and for the rest of the world."
As early as in 2007, the first mobile phone to use the local Rwandan language was launched.
A new study published by Africa Business indicates that Africa is the first continent to have more mobile phone users than fixed-line subscribers.