Rwanda’s smartphone manufacturer in talks to sell its phones in Kenya, Angola, DRC

RWANDA – The Mara Phone factory in Kigali commissioned last week on Tuesday by President Paul Kagame is expected to produce at least 1,200 smartphones daily for sale in Rwanda and abroad.

The Indian founder Ashish Thakkar who is also member of President Paul Kagame’s Presidential Advisory Council stated that the firm is in talks with regional countries including Kenya, DR Congo and Angola to export and sell the Rwanda-made smartphones.

According to the production records, the Mara Phone factory in Kigali is expected to manufacture at least 1,200 smartphones daily for sale in Rwanda and abroad.

He had earlier announced that the company planned to expand elsewhere on the continent and open a factory in South Africa.

Since the factory’s official launch, the sale of handsets has increased with at least 30 handsets sold per day between Tuesday and the time of going to press. In the past three months, the shop has sold about 130 phones.

Established at a cost of over $50 million by the Bank of Kigali, the factory directly employs 200 workers—90 per cent of whom are Rwandan and 60 per cent female—to work in technology development, production and the assembly lines. The local and foreign engineers, currently work one shift a day.

“Producing smartphones takes about 1,000 individual components in a complex manufacturing operation requiring significant technical skill and expertise,” said Mr Thakkar.

“I want to emphasise that this is a manufacturing facility and not an assembling plant,” he added.

The factory is divided into different sections for technology development, production and assembly lines.

The factory, so far, makes two phone models the Mara X and Mara Z retailing for US$130 and US$190 respectively. They are likened to the Nile X phones —an African brand phone made in Egypt with the help of China since 2017.

The Mara Z is a dual sim phone with a storage capacity of 32GB and memory of 3GB, while the Mara X is also a dual sim with 16GB space and 1GB memory. Both models are pre-installed with Google’s Android operating system.

The Mara phones have been on sale since early this year at the Kigali Business Centre, and the factory management says it is set to open 10 more retail centres in Kigali and across the country.

Since the official launch, Mara phones sale has increased with at least 30 handsets sold per day between Tuesday last week and today. In the past three months, the shop has sold about 130 phones.

The factory directly employs 200 workers 90 per cent of whom are Rwandan and 60 per cent female to work in technology development, production and the assembly lines. The local and foreign engineers, currently work one shift a day.

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