Qual­ity af­ford­able smart phone for Africa

Vuk'uzenzele - - General -

THE AFRICAN Devel­op­ment Bank and its strat­egy of in­dus­tri­al­is­ing Africa has played an im­por­tant role in de­vel­op­ing the con­ti­nent’s tech­nol­ogy sec­tor.

In the world of smart­phones, China has Huawei, Korea has Sam­sung, while the United States of Amer­ica has Ap­ple.

Long-time dark horse Africa is now tak­ing cen­tre stage with the an­nounce­ment of the Mara phone project that is touted to take the smart­phone busi­ness by storm.

De­vel­oped by Rwan­dan busi­ness­man and bil­lion­aire Ashish Thakkar, the Mara group at the Africa In­vest­ment Fo­rum an­nounced am­bi­tious plans to de­velop man­u­fac­tur­ing plants in Rwanda and in South Africa.

Dur­ing South Africa’s re­cently held in­au­gu­ral in­vest­ment con­fer­ence, a brain­child of Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, Thakkar an­nounced that his com­pany would be in­vest­ing R1.5 bil­lion in a South African ven­ture over the next five years.

Thakkar also said there were fur­ther plans to de­velop the phone in plants across the con­ti­nent’s five re­gions.

“We all know the im­por­tance of high qual­ity and af­ford­able smart­phones and the im­pact this can have on the con­ti­nent. Qual­ity smart­phones mean we can truly en­able fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion, mi­cro-lend­ing and mi­cro-in­sur­ance. This can trans­late into bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion, dig­i­tal health­care and agri­cul­ture ef­fi­ciency and im­proved com­merce.

“If this is all go­ing to be pos­si­ble… we [need] qual­ity and af­ford­able smart­phones. Un­for­tu­nately, we have qual­ity smart­phones but they are not af­ford­able and if it is af­ford­able, it is not qual­ity,” he said.

None of the mil­lions of smart­phones found world­wide are from Africa, Thakkar said.

“We have a few that are as­sem­bled in Africa but noth­ing is truly be­ing man­u­fac­tured in Africa. Thanks to the African Devel­op­ment Bank, this will change,” said the busi­ness­man.

He said the idea to pro­duce the Mara phone was made pos­si­ble thanks to the sup­port from the African Devel­op­ment Bank and its strat­egy of in­dus­tri­al­is­ing Africa.

“We all be­lieve that it is time to shift the nar­ra­tive, which is why we are also ex­cited that the phone will also be sold in Europe,” he said.

“This will truly be trans­for­ma­tive. It will cre­ate thou­sands of jobs di­rectly and even­tu­ally hun­dreds of thou­sands of jobs in­di­rectly in the eco-sys­tem across the con­ti­nent,” Thakkar said. SAnews.gov.za

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