Africa, Technology

First-ever ‘Made in Africa’ smartphones launch in Rwanda

Mara Group has recently launched two smartphones in Rwanda and touted them as the first “Made in Africa” models.

Rwanda, Made in Africa, smartphones, Mara Group
Mara X (Photo credit: Mara Group)

The pan-African company that is headquartered in Dubai said that the move could boost the country’s ambitions to become a regional technology hub.

The Mara X and Mara Z will use Google’s Android operating system and cost $190 and $130 respectively.

“This is the first smartphone manufacturer in Africa,” Mara Group CEO Ashish Thakkar told news agency Reuters.

Most phones sold in Africa are from Chinese companies, which offer dual SIM cards and are cheaper than Mara’s planned price point.

According to the company, both smartphones cost a little higher than the average smartphone currently sold in Rwanda, however, its target customers are those who are willing to pay more for quality.

Companies assemble smartphones in Egypt, Ethiopia, Algeria and South Africa, but import the components, he said.

“We are actually the first who are doing manufacturing. We are making the motherboards, we are making the sub-boards during the entire process,” he said in the Reuters report. “There are over 1,000 pieces per phone.”

Thakker said the plant had cost $50 million and could make 10,000 phones per day.

Mara Group hopes to profit from the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, a pact aimed at forming a 55-nation trade bloc, to boost sales across Africa.

The agreement is due to begin trading in 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 and no timelines have been agreed for abolishing tariffs.

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