The ‘land of a thousand hills’ is set to open its first smartphone factory in April 2019.
Paula Ingabire, Rwanda’s Minister for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Innovation made the announcement in front of the East Afrikan country’s parliament Standing Committee on Education, Technology, Culture and Youth.
“To ensure smartphones become affordable, different strategies are needed to ensure each household has a smart device and digital literacy. We hope that the plant to locally produce smartphones will boost access. Once the factory starts producing smartphones, people will be paying in instalments over a period of 24 months. We also have to work with telecommunication companies to seek ways of reducing prices on internet use, which will boost ICT penetration and digital services,” said Ingabire.
Paula Ingabire, Rwanda’s Minister for Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
Ingabire, who was presenting and explaining all the ICT issues she and her team have observed across Rwanda, also explained that there is an investor – Mara Corporation, a Pan-Afrikan technology company – is planning to set a smartphone factory in the country.
Rwanda will, however, not be the first African country to have plans of having a mobile phone factory.
President Kagame and Jack Ma attend the Official Launch of Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP)
Several mobile phones are already assembled and manufactured in Africa. In 2018, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communications, and Technology, Joseph Mucheru stated that the country has set aside Sh 1 billion (approximately $9.9 million) to help local startups design and manufacture mobile phones in the country.