TechInAfrica — A Made-in-Africa smartphone company, Mara, has opened its second manufacturing plant in Durban, ten days after the opening of its first plant in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali. Mara Group has officially opened the plant at Durban’s Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone (SEZ) on Thursday.
Mara Group CEO, Ashish Thakkar, said that President Cyril Ramaphosa will officially open the factory with other guests of honors.
The opening carries out within a year of Thakkar’s commitment to invest $100 million (R1.5 billion) into SA’s first qualified smartphone factory during President Ramaphosa’s SA Investment Conference in Sandton in October 2018.
The news came out in February mentioned that Dube TradePort, next to the King Shaka International Airport north of Durban, had secured the Mara Phone manufacturing plant, to be based at the SEZ.
Speaking in a statement earlier this week, Thakkar said that the group is investing approximately $200 million in the building of Kigali and Durban factories. This setup will manufacture “made-in-Africa” smartphones for the first time. In Africa, mobile phone facilities in Africa are numerous, but operating as assembly plants only.
“Most importantly our high-quality but affordable smartphones will be manufactured at our Mara Phone plants in Rwanda and South Africa…. We’ve already invested $50 million in the Kigali plant and more than $50 million in the Durban plant,” he says. He also added that the plants are in a similar size.
Regarding the employment for the plants, Thakkar says each plant will employ 200 people at the onset, consists of more than 60% women and more than 90% of youth. This employee number will increase as production improves and the full $200 million investment is rolled out.
The Mara Phone plant at Dube TradePort will “generate over 1 500 direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs” when the plant gets to its full capacity over time.