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)
Buhari Asks Senate To Confirm 8 New Supreme Court Justices
President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Senate to approve the appointment of eight new Supreme Court justices.
The request was made in a letter which Senate President Ahmad Lawan read out at the plenary on Tuesday September 29. It was gathered that the appointment was based on the recommendations of the National Judicial Council.
The nominees are, Lawal Garba, (North West), Helen Ogunwumiju (South West), Abdu Aboki (North West), and M M Saulawa (North West).
Others are, Adamu Jauro (North East), Samuel Oseji (South South), Tijani Abubakar (North East), and Emmanuel Agim (South South).
EFCC Quizzes 11 For Suspected Illegal Oil Bunkering In Port Harcourt.
The Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has commenced investigation of 11 suspected illegal oil bunkerers handed over to it by the Nigerian Navy.
The suspects were handed over to the EFCC on Monday, September 28, 2020 by the Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base, Bonny, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, after being arrested for suspected involvement in illegal oil bunkering.
Specifically, Captain B.I Yahuza, while handing over the suspects to the EFCC , for further investigation, disclosed that they were arrested by Naval operatives on September 22, 2020 for conveying 320 drums of product suspected to be illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil( AGO).
The 11 suspects are: Indongesit Effiong Mfon; Asuquo James; Samuel Bassey; Blessed Effiong Bassey; Victor Edet Attah; Edet Okon; Nse Jackson Okon; Innocent Effiong; Njok Okon, Uduak Asuquo and Effiong Asuquo.
A Principal Detective Superintendent of the EFCC, Ani Davis Stanley, received the suspects on behalf of the Port Harcourt Zonal Head, Abdulkarim Chukkol. He commended the synergy existing between the Navy and the EFCC and assured that thorough investigation of the case would be done.
Head, Media & Publicity
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