TechInAfrica – Rwanda will soon release its smartphone factory in April this year after South Africa and Egypt produced their own smartphones earlier. According to Paula Ingabire, Rwanda’s Minister for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Innovation, the smartphone manufacturing plant will be opened by Mara Corporation.
“Smartphones are important ICT tools since there are some digital services that only require smartphones such as access to land services among others. There is also a need to ensure the affordability of smartphones whose high cost prevents citizens from benefiting from various digital services. We hope that the plant to locally produce smartphones will boost access,” Ingabire said.
Last year, Ashish Thakkar, Mara Corporation’s Chief, announced the plan at the Africa Investment Forum that took place in Johannesburg. Thakkar remarked: “China has Huawei, Xiaomi; the U.S has iPhone and finally Africa has Maraphone.”
“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. We have a few that are assembled in Africa but nothing is truly being manufactured in Africa. Thanks to the African Development Bank, that changes today.”
The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwunmi Adesina, explained that Africa’s mobile money industry is planned to top $14 billion by 2020. Kenya has to spend $10 million for the hardware and software industry as a part of the country’s goal to produce local smartphones.
Meanwhile, in South Africa, Onyx Connect announced its plan to produce local smartphone back in 2016 which brought the company as the first to manufacture smartphones on the continent. On the other hand, Egypt launched the Nile X smartphone that was manufactured in the country and launched in 2017. Now Rwanda is following the same step, manufacturing its first smartphone to boost the digital sector across the country.