African IT company Mara has announced the Maraphone, the first smartphone produced in Africa.
Rwanda-based Mara said that the company plans to start fullscale production of high quality and affordable smartphones.
Speaking at the Africa Investment Forum in South Africa on Friday, Ashish Thakkar, founder of Mara Group said: "China has Huawei, Xiaomi; the U.S has 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 push in this sector which greatly encouraged our progress," Thakkar said.
The Maraphone will be targeted at African markets primarily, with some export to other continents.
Thakkar said that production would create thousands of direct jobs. The first manufacturing plants are planned for Rwanda and South Africa.
Thakkar commended the African Development Bank for its push to support industrialization of Africa through its High 5's strategy under which the Maraphone had received support.
Attending the ceremony, Bank President Akinwunmi Adesina 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.