Ramaphosa launches SA’s first cell phone manufacturing plant

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has officially launched a Rwandan-based smart phone manufacturing plant in Durban.

The plant, established by Mara Group, aims to create approximately 1.2 million smartphones annually. The factory will produce two smartphone models.

The company’s first manufacturing plant was opened in Kigali, Rwanda.

The South African plant is expected to create 1 500 jobs. The company also aims to employ 90% youth and 60% women.

Ramaphosa says Mara Phones will go a long way in instilling confidence in other manufacturers to invest in the country.

“We are delighted because Mara Phones is a proudly African venture and is producing a South African product, which will have that little stamp that we call ‘Proudly South African.’ The company’s efforts represent a great advance in the technological and manufacturing sector and we are delighted that you are increasing our technological capability by bringing your company here. But more importantly, it is also emboldening the skills talent that we have.”

Founder, Rwandan Ashid J Thakkar, urged South Africans to support the proudly South African smartphone.

“We are finally manufacturing in Africa, creating jobs locally. Korea has Samsung, China has Huawei and Techno, the US has Apple and now Africa and South Africa has Mara. Sometimes people confuse manufacturing and assembling…This is high tech manufacturing in Africa, by Africans, for Africa and the rest of the world right here in South Africa.”

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel, says the narrative that Africans are consumers and not producers needs to change.

“For a long time; it has been said that Africa produces that it does not consume and Africa consumes what it does not produce. We’re changing that storyline.”