The launch of the Mara smartphone has captured the attention of the tech world across the globe. It even has big tech YouTubers talk about the launch of the first African made smartphone. So, what is the big deal about the Mara smartphone? Why is it such an important thing for the people of Rwanda? Here are the top three things you need to know about Rwanda’s Mara Smartphone.
3. It is locally manufactured
The keyword here is manufactured; not processed or assembled. Rwanda is making these phones from the ground up. Everything from the phone’s motherboard to its packaging is handled in the country. This makes Rwanda the only country in Africa to manufacture its own smartphone.
Rwanda’s government sees the launch of the manufacturing plant as one of its goals to transform itself into an economic innovation leader. It has put more emphasis on Information Technology as the world is embracing the efficiency of reliable internet today.
2. Current Smartphone penetration in Rwanda
According to Rwanda’s Minister for IT, the smartphone penetration in Rwanda is at 15%. This means that feature phones still dominate the market share of phones in the country. The Rwandan government aims at improving the smartphone penetration in the country with the introduction of Mara smartphones.
These affordable smartphones will be able to enable easy access to government services (IREMBO). President Kagame stated in the launch event that the IREMBO services will be integrated into the smartphones for ease of use.
1. About the smartphones
The two models that were launched are the Mara X and Mara Z. Both will use Google’s Android operating system. The Mara X will have 16GB of internal storage and will cost $130. Mara Z’s storage will be double that of Mara X and will cost $190.
The Rwandan government hopes that the introductory prices of these smartphones won’t discourage the locals from buying them while opting for cheaper phones made by brands like Tecno. They believe that the prices of the Mara smartphone speak quality in every aspect.
What do you think of the new smartphones? Should other governments follow Rwanda’s footsteps? Let us know in the comments below.