In November 2018, we reported that African technology company, Mara Corporation announced will be launching the first set of its made in Africa smartphones this year.
Keeping true to this announcement, the company has yesterday launched these products.
The Mara X and Mara Z, are described as the first “Made in Africa” smartphones because they were manufactured on the continent by Africans in a plant set up in Rwanda.
The plant had cost $24 million to build and has the capacity to make 1,200 phones per day. Unlike other companies that only assemble smartphone components imported, Mara Corporation builds its components from scratch.
“This is the first smartphone manufacturer in Africa. We are actually the first who are doing manufacturing. We are making the motherboards, we are making the sub-boards during the entire process.”Ashish Thakkar, Founder, Mara Corporation told Reuters.
The Mara X and Mara Z use Google’s Android operating system 8.1, with the Mara Z being a slightly upgraded version of the Mara X. Both phones pack a 13MP rear camera, while the Mara X comes with 5MP front camera and the Mara Z, 13MP.
Other features include Gorilla glass, extended battery life, facial recognition features.
The Mara X comes with 16GB internal memory and 1GB of RAM at $159 while Mara Z comes with 32GB of internal memory and 3GB of RAM at $229. And both models of the smartphone currently has 1,000 pieces produced.
These are pretty competitive specs considering that the Maraphones come in the range of low-budget smartphones. Although it may not be the best, but it’s a start.
The smartphones will be sold across Africa with a target of customers “willing to pay more for quality.” And Thakkar hopes the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA), will help to boost sales across Africa.
Beyond Africa, the phones will also be sold in Europe as a result of a project partnership with Google.
Mara Corporation also hopes that these locally made quality products will give a boost to Rwanda’s ambitions to become a regional technology hub as well as increase 15% smartphone penetration.
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