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)
Gunmen scatter scheduled COVID-19 meeting in Kogi, steal documents, destroy offices
Unknown gunmen on Wednesday attacked staff of the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja who were planning a press conference to pressure the Federal Government into establishing a COVID-19 screening centre in the state.
We gathered that the gunmen shot sporadically into the air to scare people away, then went to the records and admin department where they seized laptops and destroyed a few things. They ransacked the Medical Director’s office, too.
Horror on the loose: kidnapper who kills and deposits bodies of victims in septic tank arrested in Rivers
The Rivers State Police Command said its Anti-kidnapping Unit has arrested a notorious kidnapper and serial killer, Anthony Ndubuisi, during a sting operation.
Ndubuisi, who hails from Imo State but resides in Umuebulu Etche Local Council Area of Rivers, has carried out several kidnappings and killings of victims including three foreign nationals and a Nigerian.
A statement by the command said, “Operatives of the Anti-kidnapping Unit in a sting operation yesterday 29/6/20202 at about 1330hrs, arrested a notorious kidnapper and serial killer, one Anthony Ndubuisi from Ngo-Okpala in Imo State but who resides at Umuebulu Etche LGA.
“The suspect, who was arrested through intelligence, upon interrogation confessed to have carried out several kidnappings and killings of his victims including three foreign nationals and a Nigerian. The recent, being the kidnapping and killing of one Ajumiene Offor, who was lured from Aba to his house for a business transaction but kidnapped and killed on 9/6/2020.”
However, during the course of investigation, the suspect led policemen to his house at Umuebulu where he pointed to a septic tank that contained the bodies of his victims.
“On exhumation, we recovered three human skulls and decomposing body of his recent victim.
“They have been evacuated and taken to the mortuary for autopsy,” the police statement added.
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