The launch which took place on Monday, October 7, 2019, is aimed at boosting the country’s ambitions to become a regional technology hub.

Features of the phone

The two smartphones are christened the Mara X and Mara Z.

It will use Google’s Android operating system.

They are sold at $190 (175,750 Rwandan francs) and $130 (120,250 Rwandan francs) respectively.

The launch

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mara Group, Ashish Thakkar said the two phones will compete with Samsung, whose cheapest smartphone costs $54 (50,000 Rwandan francs), and non-branded phones at $37 (35,000 Rwandan francs).

He added that the company was targeting customers willing to pay more for quality.

“This is the first smartphone manufacturer in Africa,” he said, adding that, “Companies assemble smartphones in Egypt, Ethiopia, Algeria and South Africa, but import the components.”

“We are actually the first who are doing manufacturing. We are making the motherboards; we are making the sub-boards during the entire process. There are over 1,000 pieces per phone,” Mr Thakkar added.

He noted that the plant had cost $24 million and could make 1,200 phones per day.

The CEO noted that his company hopes to profit from the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, a pact aimed at forming a 55-nation trade bloc, to boost sales across Africa.