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.
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 fortune.com 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.