In an exclusive last month, Techweez reported that Kenyan-made smartphones were set to hit the market this month. With 10 days left, ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo has come out to confirm this stating the date is set as October 30th.
CS Owalo first spoke of this earlier in the week while at a tech conference in Kigali. Yesterday, he confirmed the news when speaking to BD. The initiative by the government has been hit by a few setbacks. Initially, CS Owalo had set the month of August as the launch date and he later changed this to September while speaking in a TV interview.
As the month of October draws to an end, Kenyans will hope that the penultimate day of the month will not make the Kenyan-made smartphones look like vapourware. A product that is promoted but is never actually released.
The Kenya-made smartphone will retail at $40 (about KES 6000). It is manufactured in Konza by three companies in a partnership endorsed by the government of Kenya. The Konza plant is expected to produce 210,000 phones per month.
Our analysis of similar initiatives elsewhere shows the Kenyan phone will retail at roughly the same price as the Nile X. The Nile X is Egypt’s successful attempt at producing a local smartphone in the country. However, the phone will be slightly pricier than the Chinese-made Neon Ray 2 currently sold by Safaricom.
Kenyan-Made Smartphones to Bridge Digital Gap
The launch is expected to help improve access to smartphones in the country hence, bridging the digital gap. Approximately, 4 billion people in the world are smartphone users. However, the bulk of non-smartphone users are in Sub-Saharan Africa. By the end of 2022, only 17% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa was using a smartphone.
In the last financial quarter, there was a 4.4% leap in the number of smartphone users in Kenya getting the number to 30,793,395. The introduction of the cheap Kenyan-made smartphone is expected to boost the positive trend.