The pan-African conglomerate Mara Group has launched its first smartphone factory in Rwanda and the first of it’s kind in Africa.
The factory, located in Kigali, employs over 200 people to manufacture high-tech smartphones for the local market and further afield.
Two models of the Mara phones are on sale for $130 and $190, the company which hopes to pioneer a brand of African-made smartphones, are hoping to compete with Asian manufacturers of android phones like Tecno and Samsung who currently dominate Africa’s markets.
Speaking at the launch, CEO Ashish Thakkar, said
“We realised a few years ago that to create a positive social impact on our continent and in emerging markets, we need to have high quality and affordable smartphones”
With Tecno and Samsung models sold at $40 and $70 respectively in Rwanda, The Mara Group has created a financial model which allows users to pay for their phones in instalments payments that can be spread across two years.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame, at the launch, commended the drive towards affordable smartphones and emphasized the need to boost the adoption of high-tech products in Rwanda.
According to him, the smartphone which is no longer a luxury item is rapidly becoming a requirement of everyday life. The President stated that;
“We want to enable many more Rwandans to use smartphones. The cost and quality are very important and the introduction of Mara Phones will put smartphone ownership within reach of more Rwandans.”
The Mara Group is set to launch her next Mara Phone factory in South Africa in October.