Africa’s First Smartphone Launched in Rwanda

The Mara Group, a pan-African multi-sector business services company inaugurated Mara Phones manufacturing plant in Rwandan capital Kigali on Monday.

The first phones made in Rwanda rolled off the assembly line last week at the factory located at Kigali special economic zone.

Mara Phones was designed in partnership with Google as part of the Android One Program.

The new factory currently makes two versions of the phone priced between $129 and $189.

The factory employs about 200 people in Rwanda — 60% of whom are women.

Speaking at the ceremony, Rwandan President Paul Kagame said the introduction of Mara Phones would put smartphone ownership within reach of more Rwandans.

He noted that the percentage of Rwandans using smartphones was low, but that the government was gradually dealing with obstacles through such initiatives of Mara group.

In Rwanda, Internet penetration currently stands at over 52.1%, up from 7% in 2011.

Phone penetration has grown to over 80.6% currently, from 33% in 2010, according to the ministry of ICT and Innovation.

The President  underlined that the investment by Mara Phones Group was in perfect harmony with the country’s focus on science and technology, as the key drivers of economic transformation.

Apart from Rwandan market, Mara aims to export phones to other countries in the region as well.

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