- A Rwandan company has launched the first smartphone factory in Africa
- 90% of the plant's current staff are Rwandans
- The introduction of Mara Phones aims to put smartphone ownership within the reach of more Africans
- Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, said the factory is part of the broader 'Made in Rwanda' initiative which his country has embarked on
Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, has launched a smartphone manufacturing plant, the first of its kind on the African continent.
Kagame launched the factory (Mara Phones Production Plant) on Monday, 7 October at the Kigali special economic zone in Gasabo district.
In a report seen by Briefly.co.za by the Rwanda New Times, the head of state said the project was part of the broader Made in Rwanda initiative.
“The Mara phone joins a growing list of high-quality products that are made in our country. Producing smartphones is not a simple matter. Around 1 000 individual components are involved as we have been taken through the whole process,” the chair of the East African Community said.
“The plant is therefore a complex manufacturing operation requiring significant technical skill and expertise and is another milestone on our journey to high-tech made in Rwanda industry,” he added.
The introduction of Mara Phones aims to put smartphone ownership within the reach of more Rwandans in a country, where internet coverage stands at 52.1%, up from 7% in 2011.
According to Rwanda’s ministry of information and technology, the number of phone owners grew from 33% in 2010 to the current 80.6%.
"The smartphone is no longer a luxury item. It is rapidly becoming a requirement of everyday life. That trend is bound to increase in the years to come, as more and more services migrate to digital platforms," Kagame said.
The plant has so far employed 200 people, with 90% of them being Rwandans.
At full capacity it is expected to have a workforce of 650 people.
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