Rwanda is set to open its first smartphone factory during April 2019. This was announced by Paula Ingabire, Rwanda's Minister for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Innovation in front of the East Afrikan country's parliament Standing Committee on Education, Technology, Culture and Youth.

Ingabire was also presenting and explaining all the ICT issues she and her team have observed across Rwanda. Ingabire also explained that there is an investor planning to set a smartphone factory in Rwanda.

"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.

Manufacturing mobile phones in Afrika

Rwanda will not be the first Afrikan country to have plans of having a mobile phone factory. There have been several mobile phones assembled and manufactured in Afrika, and recently in 2018, Joseph Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communications, and Technology in Kenya, stated that the country has set aside KSh 1 billion (approximately $9,9 million) to help local startups design and manufacture mobile phones in the country.

Ingabire also revealed that the investor with plans to open the mobile phne factory in Rwanda is the Mara Corporation, a Pan-Afrikan technology company.

Cover image credit: Paula Ingabire, Rwanda's Minister for ICT and Innovation.

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