As parts of its government’s efforts to broaden the country’s revenue sources, South Africa has launched a smartphone factory, Mara Phone Plant.
The launch was carried out by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The plant, situated at Dube Trade Port in KwaZulu-Natal, is expected to act as an economic catalyst for the country. It is one of the strategies of the District-Based development model.
As explained by President Ramaphosa earlier in June, the model will focus on the 44 districts and 8 metros in South Africa. It will ensure that there is proper service delivery, and also make sure there are adequate resources available in the municipalities.
Mara Phone Plant is the result of a promise made by Founder and CEO of Rwanda-based Mara Group, Ashish Thakkar.
At the investment forum last year, Thakkar announced that his company would invest R1.5 billion in a South African business venture over the next five years.
The investment into Mara Phone Plant came 11 months later.
— Nonceba Mhlauli (@NoncebaMhlauli) October 17, 2019
The phone plant has state-of-the-art equipments required to make quality phones. It is expected to deliver at an annual production capacity of 1.2 million handsets.
Similar to the way other smartphone makers like Samsung and Apple run, Mara will also release upgrades of the phones annually.
At inception, two phone models are expected to be produced by the phone brand, the Mara X and Mara Z.
The phone factory is expected to create hundreds of employment opportunities directly. Thousands of jobs will also be created indirectly.
This could go a long way in helping South Africa with its triangular issues of unemployment, inequality and poverty.
The direct and indirect jobs are palliative measures that address a recent outcry by South Africans who claim that foreigners have taken over available jobs.
#MaraPhones CEO @AshishJThakkar says more than 200 people have been employed at the new manufacturing plant. More than 90% of employees are youth, while more than 60% are women. @etvNewsSA pic.twitter.com/TuwmXeLACX
— Nabeelah Shaikh (@Nabeelah_Shaikh) October 17, 2019
According to a tweet by the phone plant, the workforce will be made up of 90% youths and 60% women.
The plant is also one of the country’s strategies to position itselfas a force to be reckoned with in Africa. According to the CEO of Mara Group, smartphones are key products in the economy of a continent.
“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 improve commerce.”
CEO of Rwanda-based Mara Group
South Africa’s entry into the smartphone market is expected to draw major revenue and benefits for the country as well as improve the standard of living of its inhabitants.