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Rwanda launches first 100% ‘Made in Africa’ smartphones

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Rwanda launches first 100% 'Made in Africa' smartphones

Rwanda’s Mara Group launched two smartphones on Monday, describing them as the first “Made in Africa” models and giving a boost to the country’s ambitions to become a regional technology hub.

The Mara X and Mara Z will use Google’s Android operating system and cost 175,750 Rwandan francs ($190) and 120,250 Rwandan francs ($130) respectively.

They will compete with Samsung, whose cheapest smartphone costs 50,000 Rwandan francs ($54), and non-branded phones at 35,000 Rwandan francs ($37). Mara Group CEO Ashish Thakkar said it was targeting customers willing to pay more for quality.

“This is the first smartphone manufacturer in Africa,” Thakkar told Reuters after touring the company alongside Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.

Companies assemble smartphones in Egypt, Ethiopia, Algeria and South Africa, but import the components, he said.

“We are actually the first who are doing manufacturing. We are making the motherboards, we are making the sub-boards during the entire process,” he said. “There are over 1,000 pieces per phone.”

Thakker said the plant had cost $50 million and could make 10,000 phones per day.

Mara Group hopes to profit from the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, a pact aimed at forming a 55-nation trade bloc, to boost sales across Africa, Thakkar said.

The agreement is due to begin trading in July next year, aiming to unite 1.3 billion people and create a $3.4 trillion economic bloc. But it is still in the very early stages and no timelines have been agreed for abolishing tariffs.

Kagame said he hoped the phone would increase Rwanda’s smartphone usage, currently at around 15%.

“Rwandans are already using smartphones but we want to enable many more. The introduction of Mara phones will put smartphones ownership within reach of more Rwandans,” Kagame said.

($1 = 924.3110 Rwandan francs)

REUTERS

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FG, south-west governors agree on Amotekun

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FG, south-west governors agree on Amotekun

The federal government and governors of states in the south-west have reached the agreement to draw up a legal framework for the Western Nigeria Security Network code-named: Amotekun, The Cable reports.

Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo state, disclosed this to state house correspondents at the end of a meeting Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had with the six governors from the region on Thursday.

Akeredolu said the legal framework will help resolve all “burning issues” surrounding the security network.

Asked if the governors failed to draw up the legal framework for the outfit before the launch on January 9, Akeredolu said the inspector-general of police and other “relevant security agencies” were duly consulted.

Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, who had described the outfit as illegal, was part of the meeting.

While the meeting was ongoing, Malami had insisted that the outfit was illegal.

“Well we had a very fruitful discussion. Governors of south-west, as you know, we were all there. The meeting was presided over by the Vice President. The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation was there as well as the Inspector General of Police,” he said.

“So, we have rubbed minds and all of us have agreed on the way forward. The most important one is that we are going to have legal framework to back this Amotekun. And this legal framework is going to be one which we all are going to look at and will be sure to go without any hindrance.”

Responding to a question on if establishment of the outfit had been put on hold until the legal framework is developed, he said: “No. What I believe is our resolution is that Amotekan is there, you know the federal government is starting community policing, in essence really is about community. So, we are going to work together to see the community policing and Amotekan work in a way.

“We felt that with all these noise outside it is better for us to sit down. Remember that immediately the noise started, I said that we are going to explore political solution and all of us are here, my colleague the deputy governor of Oyo who is of the PDP, all of us are here. So we have looked at this solution to it now, both political and legal solutions to it and all of us will do it.”

He said there was no time that the federal government tried to stop Amotekun.

Laolu Akande, spokesman of the vice-president, also issued a statement on the meeting with the south-west governors.

Akande said the meeting was at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, met today with South West Governors, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Inspector General of Police,” the statement read.

“The meeting was at the instance of the Governors who had asked to see President Muhammadu Buhari over the controversy surrounding the Amotekun Initiative. However due to the President’s foreign engagement, he asked the Vice President to host the meeting.

“The meeting was very fruitful and unanimous resolutions were made on the way forward. Having regard to the need for all hands to be on deck in addressing the security concerns across the country, it was agreed that the structure of Amotekun should also align with the Community Policing strategy of the Federal Government.

“It was also agreed that necessary legal instruments will be put in place by each of the States to give legal backing to the initiative and address all issues concerning the regulation of the security structure.”

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Arrest Miyetti Allah Leaders, CAN Tells FG

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The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has advised the Federal Government to arrest the leaders of the Miyetti Allah for allegedly sponsoring crimes in the country.

CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, gave the advice in a chat with reporters in Abuja.

Ayokunle, who expressed sadness over the recent killings in the northern part of the country, especially that of the Adamawa State CAN chairman, said: “The Federal Government should order the arrest of the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Groups in who are sponsoring and perpertuating the crime of Nigeria and prosecute them for all the killings in Southern Kaduna, Benue, Plateau and Taraba states, among others”.

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