Mara Corporation, an Africa focused company, says it could be setting up a new smartphone manufacturing plant in Nigeria in the near future. It is considering expanding its budding smartphone production concern to the country, as part of its quest to make Africa a hub for internationally recognized mobile technology.
This was disclosed on Wednesday by Ashish Thakkar, Mara Corporation’s CEO, following his visit to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
According to him, the NCC was creating an enabling environment for facilities like Mara’s to set up in the country. He pointed to the commission’s vision for broadband expansion and telecoms device manufacturing as evidence of this.
Thakkar said he was “extremely impressed with the depth and reach” of what the NCC was doing, and that Mara Corporation would be willing to contribute to make the NCC’s vision come to life.
On his part, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, the NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, said that Nigeria was ripe for a local full-scale mobile device producer. He explained that the commission was doing its part to improve the telecoms infrastructure.
“The NCC is trying to expand broadband connectivity by addressing infrastructure deficit in Nigeria,” Danbatta said. “The commission has already licensed six infrastructure companies that will be deploying broadband infrastructure in the country.”
Maraphone, which is Mara Corporation’s smartphone production division, is currently seeking to spread its manufacturing facilities across the continent, after launching on the continent last year. It operates with the stated aim of fashioning smart devices in Africa for local and global markets.
Reports from 2018 suggested that the company was investing $100 million on building a new manufacturing facility in South Africa, as well as strengthening its presence in Rwanda where it’s currently headquartered. At the time, officials at the company hinted that they could be starting up in other locations as well.
Although Nigeria has at least one smartphone assembly plant, there’s none which actually manufactures all its parts locally. Maraphone intends to be the first company to establish a proper manufacturing center in the country.
Earlier this year, they began to sell their flagship products, the Mara X and Mara Z, which are produced at its plant in Durban, South Africa. The phones are powered by a Google Operating System and are currently available for purchase at various online stores.
Nigeria is Africa’s biggest market for smartphones. Asoko Insights, a market intelligence company, reported in 2017 that there were about 38 million smartphone users in the country. If Maraphone goes ahead to set up, it would be banking on this large potential customer base to grow its sales and continent-wide reach.
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