Rwanda sets record as the first African country to produce smartphones


Rwanda’s Mara Group a company founded by Ashish J. Thakkar, in 1996, as a Pan-African multi-sector business services company with a primary business mandate in the field of technology, financial services, manufacturing, real estate & agriculture industries launched two smartphones on Monday, October 7, 2019, describing them as the first “Made in Africa” models and purposed to give a significant boost to the country’s ambitions to become a regional technology hub.

The Mara X and Mara Z are set to use Google’s Android OS and cost 175,750 Rwandan francs equivalent to $190 and 120,250 Rwandan francs also equivalent to $130 respectively.

These smartphones will tend to compete with Samsung which apparently is among the cheapest smartphones costing about 50,000 Rwandan francs ($54), as well as non-branded phones at a cost of 35,000 Rwandan francs ($37).

According to Reuters, “This is the first smartphone manufacturer in Africa,” Thakkar said after touring the company alongside Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.

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The information available shows that the produced gadgets come with high-end options such as fingerprint sensors that help unlock the phone. Such functionality is lacking in many phones used on the continent and this comes not only as a push for technology but also for high quality.

Rwanda, according to a report, has broken many stereotypes, in particular those associated with the 1994 genocide. Renaming itself as a technological hub, its capital, Kigali, has become the seat of several incubators.

Rwandan Minister of Technology Paula Ingabire explained that: “It comes down to our turbulent past left with nothing and the use of ashes as a development tool for cohesion”.

The technological space of Africa has recently benefited from growing support from foreign countries. Visa, the American financial services cooperation, has invested $ 200 million in Interswitch, a Nigerian invoice company.

Microsoft has also opened workplaces in Kenya and Nigeria for engineers working on synthetic intelligence, systems studies, and combined facts. This happened a month after Google opened an artificial intelligence laboratory in Ghana.

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