Mara Group opens first African smartphone factory in Rwanda

Rwanda’s Mara Group has officially opened Africa’s first smartphone manufacturing facility in capital city Kigali and launched two smartphones that have been called the first ‘made in Africa’ models.

Located in Kigali’s special economic zone, the factory employees over 200 people to manufacture the pan-African conglomerate’s Mara Phone models for the local market and abroad.

The two Android models, priced at US$159 and $229, will compete with Asian manufacturers Tecno and Samsung in the African market.

The smartphones will be available to purchase on a finance model that allows users to pay over a period of two years, after Mara Group formed partnerships with local banks and telecoms firms.

“When we first told people about Mara Phone they told us we were crazy and that it wasn’t possible,” said Mara Group CEO and tycoon Ashish Thakkar at the launch.

“Our true belief in Africa, particularly Rwanda, is a dream come true. This is a historic moment which will help shift the narrative for Rwanda, Africa and the rest of the world.”

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame opened the ceremony on Monday and commended the drive towards affordable smartphones and the adoption of high-tech products in the country.

“The smartphone is no longer a luxury item, it is rapidly becoming a requirement of everyday life. That trend is bound to increase in the years to come as more and more services migrate to digital platforms.”

Mara Group is set to launch their next Mara Phone factory in South Africa on October 17th.