Made in Kenyan phones: Assembly plant in Konza begins production
The Kenyan government has delivered on its commitment to introduce locally manufactured smartphones to the market, marking a significant milestone in the country’s tech industry.
Earlier this year, President William Ruto announced the government’s plan to collaborate with the private sector to roll out one million made-in-Kenya smartphones, promising these budget-friendly devices would retail at just $40 (approximately KES 6,000).
At the ongoing US-Africa roundtable, President Ruto delighted Kenyans by revealing that the manufacturing plant had commenced production.
He enthusiastically stated, “And just for your information, the factory is up, and the first 20,000 units are out.”
This development, set to boost digital access and inclusion in Kenya, is a collaborative effort involving a consortium of three companies: Chinese mobile device dealers Shenzhen TeleOne Technology, leading telecom operator Safaricom, and Jamii Telecommunications.
The assembly plant within the Konza Technopolis in Malili, Machakos County, is already in the testing phase. Full-scale production of the made-in-Kenya smartphones is expected to begin in October.
Shenzhen TeleOne Technology, a renowned manufacturer of low-cost Neon phones, has teamed up with Safaricom to make this initiative a reality. The company’s expertise in producing affordable smartphones positions it as a key player in this venture.
President Ruto emphasized that these affordable smartphones would revolutionize digital access and inclusion in Kenya, aligning with the nation’s technology-driven vision.
This achievement is a significant milestone for Kenya’s tech sector, coming on the heels of another noteworthy accomplishment: exporting Kenyan-made Raspberry Pi Pico Boards.
These boards, which are manufactured by Gearbox Europlacer, are now available for sale at electronics retailers in Africa.
Raspberry Pi Pico boards, the first microcontroller boards from Raspberry Pi, are designed for physical computing and do not run any operating system. Instead, they are programmed for specific tasks and can be reprogrammed over USB via a Raspberry Pi or a computer. They are widely used in industrial applications to run custom devices and machinery.
Gearbox Europlacer, an electronics manufacturing services provider, has been instrumental in this endeavor.
Founded in 2021, the company collaborates with local talent to stimulate economic growth and enhance Kenya’s technology landscape.
Its partnership with Raspberry Pi has expanded access to these essential computing solutions, making them available to a broader audience in Kenya, Rwanda, and Ghana.
These developments reinforce Kenya’s position as a burgeoning hub for tech innovation, meeting local demand and expanding its footprint across the African continent.
The products manufactured at Gearbox Europlacer will proudly bear the ‘Made in Kenya’ mark and will be accessible to customers both within Kenya and throughout the East and Central Africa region.
With these groundbreaking initiatives, Kenya is poised to foster digital growth, innovation, and economic development, setting the stage for a brighter tech future for the nation and the continent at large.