Growth of Smartphone Manufacturers On the Continent


The African continent is a land of immense opportunities. The presence of lower prices for smartphones has led to the rapid digital revolution on the continent. Most of the primary services offered throughout the continent have improved since the inception of smartphones. Such include agriculture, health, medicine, water management, and energy. This impressive growth of smartphone users has given telecommunication brands on the continent, the impetus to come up with innovative technologies. Nonetheless, the challenge is not in the manufacture of a smartphone locally, but in selling. For instance, would you buy a smartphone made within the continent?

Most Africans are driven by international brands that offer quality and sustainability. Can the local manufacturers challenge the competition? Kenya’s telecommunication giant Safaricom is one of the few African companies that have tried to change the norm. In 2011, through a partnership with Chinese international company Huawei, Safaricom manufactured a $100 android smartphone. The African market lags when it comes to mobile smartphone adoption, and such efforts aim at breaking the deadlock.

Rwanda is yet another African nation that has made a step in the smartphone niche. Recently, it has established what Africa’s first homemade smartphone industry is now soon to be. The strides are courtesy of Mara phones, which has its headquarters in Kigali. The factory has a projected 1,200 units every day. The two main variants produced are set to cost $130 and $200.

The goal is to surpass the competition and have a share of Africa’s growing mobile market. This ever-rising market saw over 80 million smartphones shipped to the continent in 2018 alone. The leading shares in the international industry dominating Africa include Chinese manufacturer Huawei and Korea’s Samsung.

Pundits argue that to break the monopoly created by foreign brands, African manufacturers must first change the mentality of their people. So far, the inroads have not borne so many fruits. However, it is not time to give up but to try even further. Foreign dominance is a problem facing not only Africa but also other continents such as Europe.

The first trouble that local manufacturers on the continent face is on the pricing. The cost of manufacturing a smartphone in Africa is what creates the challenge. International companies produce their smartphones at low prices and, thus, can afford to sell them affordably. This is farfetched for African manufacturers. For instance, Samsung sells its smartphones from $54, which is difficult for Safaricom and Mara to match.

The decision to buy either an African made phone or one from abroad is highly sentimental, more than it is about the price. The mobile industry needs to develop on the continent. It is not only about accepting local brands but also about creating jobs for the growing population. Either directly or indirectly, this industry has created, in recent years, over two million jobs on the continent. This number is set to increase with the rising number of smartphone manufacturers. It is imperative that smartphone manufacturing goes up on the continent for economic growth and development.

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