Tuesday, October 8, 2019 - Rwanda has made a big stride in becoming a regional technology hub with the launch of the first ‘Made in Africa’ smartphones.

The Smart Phones are manufactured by Rwanda’s Mara Group and were launched by President Paul Kagame.

Both phones are powered by Android Oreo (8.1 for X and 8.0 for Z) and they support fingerprint technology.

The Mara X and Mara Z cost 175,750 Rwandan francs (Sh19,000) and 120,250 Rwandan francs (Sh13,000) respectively.

Speaking during the launch, Mara Group CEO, Ashish Thakkar, said:

“This is the first smartphone manufacturer in Africa,”

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

 “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.”

The manufacturing plant cost $24 million (Sh2.4 billion) and could make 1,200 phones per day.

Rwanda’s smartphone penetration currently stands at around 15% and President Kagame hopes the introduction of Mara phones will see more Rwandans own phones.

“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.

Below are some of the specifications of Mara X and Mara Z.


 5.7inch HD plus display.

Octa-Core Processor.


Fingerprint sensor

13MP selfie camera.

Dolby Audio 5+1.

A powerful battery that allows it to get 50% worth of charge in just 30 minutes.


13MP back camera and the 5mp front cam.

 5.5inch HD plus screen with 18:9 aspect ratio

Quad-core processor along with one gigabyte of ram

5000 mAh battery that makes the phone an endurance champion

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