Mara Phones, a subsidiary of Mara Group, recently announced its first Made in Africa phones. At an event held on Monday, the company officially launched its new high tech smartphone manufacturing facility in Kigali, Rwanda. The Rwandan President Paul Kagame also attended the launch ceremony.
“What we have around Africa are basically mobile phone assembling plants. What we have built is Africa’s first smartphone manufacturing plant,” Thakkar said during the launch.
“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.
Thakkar says their newly launched manufacturing plant costed $24 million(approx. Ksh 2.4 Billion) in construction and can manufacture about 1200 smartphones in a day. Currently, the company has two smartphones, Mara X and Mara Z, both phones costing less than $200.
Ashish Thakkar, founder and chief executive officer of Mara Group, says the two phones promise better battery life, a good amount of storage space, and, most importantly, two years guarantee of major Android updates courtesy of Google’s Android One project.
Mara X costs about $190, while Mara Z will set you back by around $130.
Mara Phones hopes to steal away the glory long maintained by Chinese smartphone companies, including Infinix, Tecno, and Samsung, which have way cheaper devices. Reuters reports that the most affordable smartphones in Rwanda are non-branded phones costing about $34, while Samsung smartphones cost as low as $54.
According to Ashish Thakkar, Mara X, and Mara Z, smartphones are meant for consumers who would prefer to pay more for quality in a smartphone. Smartphone penetration in Rwanda is currently at 15%, and the company hopes this will enable more people in Rwanda to use smartphones in their daily lives.
Later this month, Mara Group plans to launch its second factory in South Africa.