Peter Oluka | November 10, 2018
The Maraphone is high-spec, affordable, smart, transformative and in line with the Bank’s Industrialize Africa High 5 priority
African high-tech player Mara on Friday announced the production of their newest product the Maraphone – the acclaimed first made-in-Africa, full-scale smartphone, soon to be manufactured in plants across Africa.
“China has Huawei, Xiaomi; the U.S has iPhone and finally Africa has Maraphone,” the Founder of Mara Group, Ashish Thakkar, told a press conference on the final day of the Africa Investment Forum, currently underway in Johannesburg, South Africa.
But, is Ashish Thakkar absolutely right?
Recall that AfriOne Ltd., a technology-driven enterprise, in April 2017 inaugurated its manufacturing and assembly plant for Made in Nigeria phones and other technological devices.
The Chief Executive Officer of AfriOne, Mr Sahir Berry at a news briefing in Lagos said that the plant was a technological breakthrough and precedent for the company and for Nigeria.
The company’s state of the art facility was spread out over 20,000 square feet including Research and Development (R&D) and testing laboratories.
According to AfriOne, the facility will be able to produce 300,000 products in a month on its four production lines.
However, Thakkar told the press at AIF, “This project will show the potential and ability that Africa can produce high quality and affordable smartphones in Africa, by Africans, for Africans and for the rest of the world. We are extremely grateful for the African Development Banks push in this sector which greatly encouraged our progress”.
The Maraphone phone, a first-of-its-kind in the history of Africa, will produce high quality and affordable smartphones to primarily serve the population of Africa and also with the aim to export to other continents such as Europe.
“This is going to be totally transformative and create thousands of direct jobs,” Thakkar said.
While global manufacture of phones is on the rise and expected to hit a billion in the next few years, none of them are produced on the continent, Thakkar said. The initial target market for the phones would be first-time African smart phone users, while the first manufacturing plants are to be located in Rwanda and South Africa.
Thakkar commended the African Development Bank for its push to support industrialization of Africa through its High 5’s strategy under which the Maraphone had received support.
Attending the ceremony, Bank President Akinwunmi Adesina said: “By 2020, the value of Africa’s mobile money industry is projected to top $14 billion. We need African-developed mobile phones to leverage this potential.”
“Africa is bold, strong and innovative. Africa’s time is now,” Adesina said.