Paula Ingabire, Rwanda’s Minister for Information and Communications Technology speaking before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Technology, Culture and Youth in Rwanda | Photo Courtesy/File Photo.
Paula Ingabire, Rwanda’s Minister for Information and Communications Technology speaking before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Technology, Culture and Youth in Rwanda | Photo Courtesy/File Photo.

The government of Rwanda in partnership with Mara Corp. are set to construct the first smartphone manufacturing factory in Rwanda. The establishment was confirmed by the Minister of ICT Rwanda; Ms. Paula Ingabire — and is said to enhance access to digital services in the country.

According to News Times Rwanda, Ms. Paula said the plant by April 2019 could have started activities. Adding that that there would be need to ensure that smartphones produced are affordable. Consumers that won’t able to make full payment, will pay in installments over a period of 24 months. Stressing out that the gov’t will work with telcos as well on reducing prices imposed on internet use.

Ms. Paula said the high cost on smartphones prevents Rwanda citizens from benefiting from various digital services—like access to land services.

Coming to this establishment, Mara Corp. CEO, Mr. Ashish Thakkar; a Ugandan entrepreneur — announced at the Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa last year that the organization would launch smartphones made in Africa this year. The phones as said to be called Maraphones; Mara X and Mara Z.

Mr. Ashish unveiled one of the Maraphone prototype at the event and was quoted saying, “China has Huawei, U.S has iPhone and finally Africa has Maraphone.”

To-date we’ve come to know how phones are assembled in Africa, and Mara Corp. wants to change that. Maraphones will be manufactured in Africa by Africans for Africans—built from plants setup in South Africa, and Rwanda.

“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,” said Ashish.

Ashish Thakkar CEO Mara Corporation showing the Maraphone prototypes during a closing plenary session at the Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa last year | Photo Courtesy: AfDB/File Photo.
Ashish Thakkar CEO Mara Corporation showing the Maraphone prototypes during a closing plenary session at the Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa last year | Photo Courtesy: AfDB/File Photo.

Meanwhile, Mara Corp. is set to compete with Transsion Holdings, manufacturers of Tecno, Infinix, and itel smartphones. Transsion Holdings has leveraged the African smartphone market giving a run to likes of Samsung, Huawei, and Apple who are the biggest manufacturers of smartphones.