IT and Tech-giant, Mara Corporation over the weekend outdoored its wholly-African made newest android smartphone dubbed Mara Phones at the end of the African Investment Forum, organised by the African Development Bank Group, at the plush Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Mr Ashish Thakkar, Founder and President of Mara Corporation, said his vision is to revolutionalise the telephony space in Africa by providing a hi-spec, affordable and transformative phones first targeting rural areas, who are at the mercy of other tech-giants.
He said Mara (Lion) smart phones would roar into the tech ecosystem globally with its refined features, which include double battery-life, unbreakable screen, biometric readers, fast charging system, facial recognition, finger print and unlimited photo and video space.
He said his company would soon plunge into full-scale production- to be manufactured in factories across Africa- commencing from Rwanda and South Africa before scaling into production hubs in West, North, East, Central and Southern African geographic zones.
Mr Thakkar said “China has Huawei, Tecno, Xiaomi; Korea has Samsung, the U.S has Apple and iPhone and finally Africa has Maraphone.
“This project will show the potential and ability that Africa can produce high quality and affordable smartphones in Africa, by Africans, for Africans and for the rest of the world. We are extremely grateful for the African Development Banks,” Thakkar said.
The Maraphone phone, a first-of-its-kind in the history of Africa, will produce high quality and affordable smartphones to primarily serve the population of Africa and also export to other continents such as Europe.
“This is going to be totally transformative and create thousands of direct jobs,” Thakkar said.
While global manufacture of phones is on the rise and expected to hit a billion in the next few years, none of them are produced on the continent, Thakkar said addint that the initial target market for the phones would be first-time African smart phone users.
Thakkar commended the African Development Bank for its push to support industrialization of Africa through its High Five’s strategy under which the Maraphone has received support.
Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, President of AfDB, who witnessed the outdooring said: “By 2020, the value of Africa’s mobile money industry is projected to top $14 billion. We need African-developed mobile phones to leverage this potential.”
“Africa is bold, strong and innovative. Africa’s time is now,” Adesina said.
The Africa Investment Forum is a co-financing and de-risking platform bringing together multi-lateral development bank’s, development finance institutions, financial investors, project sponsors and the private sector, and designed to bridge Africa’s investment financing gap.
Mara Company, a small IT business, headquartered in Kigali, Rwanda is a globally recognized multi-sector investment group that exists today. Through its investments, Mara Corporation now employs over 14,000 people across 26 African countries in sectors spanning technology, financial services and energy.