Another ‘Made in Africa’ smartphone plant opens in South Africa

President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa has launched Africa’s second smartphone manufacturing plant in Durban.

The Mara phone is developed and produced on the continent. Its first manufacturing plant was opened in Kigali, Rwanda, just over a week ago. Mara Group launched two smartphones two weeks ago, describing them as the first “Made in Africa” models. In South Africa, the Durban plant is expected to create over 1,500 jobs.

The launch of the Mara phone’s Durban plant follows pledges made at last year’s investment summit by Ramaphosa.

Founder and CEO of the Mara Group Ashish Thakkar pledged an investment of just over R1.5 billion to manufacture Africa’s first smartphone and it seems he has kept his promise.

The Rwandan entrepreneur has reportedly already pumped just over R700 million into the Durban plant, which is based at the Dube Tradeport.

Reuters reported two weeks ago that Thakkar “hoped to profit from the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, a pact aimed at forming a 55-nation trade bloc, to boost sales across Africa.”

The agreement is due to begin trading in July next year, aiming to unite 1.3 billion people and create a $3.4 trillion economic bloc. But it is still in the very early stages and no timelines have been agreed for abolishing tariffs.

The plant was set to produce just over 1,2 million smartphone handsets annually, according to Mara Group’s website

The company said the staff complement at the Durban plant would comprise 90% youth and 60% women.

The Mara Z comes standard with a 5.7-inch screen while the Mara X has a 5.5-inch display, both devices sport the same screen resolution of 1,440 x 720.

Both smartphones run using Google’s Android 9 OS, the difference is that the Mara X opts to run the “Go” version of this software instead.

When talking about chipsets, the Mara Z has a more impressive Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 CPU in comparison to the Mara X which has a Mediatek MT6739 chip.

Both devices sport a 13MP rear camera – making them identical, however, the front-facing camera of the Mara Z boasts a 13MP lens compared to the Mara X’s 5MP selfie camera.
Both devices are available to purchase from the Mara Phones website – the Mara X goes

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Gbenga Ajao
Gbenga Ajao is a journalist. He has garnered experience in print, electronic and new media. He is passionate about mobile and web technology.

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