The African conglomerate Mara Group has launched Monday 7 the first ever African manufacturing plant in Rwandan Capital Kigali, in the presence of Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
This is not a point of assembly like those in Egypt, Ethiopia, Algeria and South Africa. It is a plant that manufactures most of the smartphone’s components on its own relying primarily on African workforce.
The 38-year-old Ashish Thakkar, CEO of Dubai-based Mara Group, said during the launch ceremony that the new plant is “actually the first to manufacture” smartphones in Africa, explaining that Mara Phone, an affiliated company manufactures motherboards, sub cards, and “more than 1,000 pieces on the phone”.
The Kigali-based plant began full production 2 months ago and employs 200 people, the majority of whom are women aged between 19 and 22. The firm aims at producing 1.5 million phones and sell them in 8 distribution points in Rwanda at USD 130 (Model: Mara X) and USD 190 (Model: Mara Z).
By making the prices affordable while maintaining a quality that competes with large manufacturers, the firm targets the African market primarily. Nonetheless, Mara phones has also ambitions to go beyond the African continent, and has already began receiving orders, says Eddy Sebera, Managing Director of Mara Phones.
In this regard, the founder said, “We understood a few years ago that in order to create a positive social impact on our continent and in emerging markets, we must have affordable and high quality smartphones. That’s when we thought about creating Mara Phones”
The models Mara X and Mara Z will come with long battery life and large storage capacity. Thanks to a partnership it established with Google, it will operate using an Android version.
As for the workforce, the group has established partnerships with the educational and training institutions in Rwanda in order to develop the trainees’ skills and prepare them to hold leading positions in the firm.