Kenya has inaugurated its first smartphone assembly plant in Athi River, Machakos, in a goal to boost digital inclusion.
The assembly plant, operated by East Africa Device Assembly Kenya Limited (EADAK), a joint venture of local Mobile Network Operators Safaricom and Jamii Telecommunications, along with Chinese mobile device dealer Shenzhen TeleOne Technology, aims to produce affordable 4G-enabled smartphones for consumers in Kenya.
The newly launched smartphones, Neon Smarta and Neon Ultra, are part of the government’s initiative to enhance digital literacy and connectivity across the nation. The devices, originally proposed to be priced at $40, are now available at a retail price of $50, slightly higher than the initial projection. Despite the price adjustment, these smartphones offer an affordable option for many Kenyans, especially considering their features and capabilities.
“This assembly plant will support the government’s agenda to enhance digital inclusion in the country. We have been able to achieve affordability through a collaborative approach that comprises industry partnership and favorable government policies,” stated Joshua Chepkwony, Chairman of EADAK.
The Neon Smarta and Neon Ultra smartphones were built with 5-inch and 6.5-inch display respectively, both equipped with 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB internal storage, and 4G support.
The phones are part of a broader digital literacy program, which has already trained 300,000 individuals in 2023. These devices are important components of Kenya’s digital transformation agenda, with plans for more products, including locally assembled tablets, in the pipeline for the coming months.
The assembly line is expected to generate between 300 and 500 direct jobs, contributing significantly to the local economy. With an estimated monthly production volume of 21,000 phones, the assembly plant is set to produce between 1.2 million and 1.4 million smartphones annually, meeting the growing demand for affordable mobile devices in the country.
Safaricom and Faiba, two leading telecommunications companies in Kenya, will be instrumental in distributing the locally assembled smartphones. The devices will be available nationwide at Faiba stores, dealer outlets, Safaricom stores, and the Masoko online platform, ensuring accessibility for consumers across the country.
In the face of increasing smartphone prices, this initiative is ideal in fostering digital literacy, connectivity, and economic growth. Kenya is scaling on technological advancement and these locally assembled smartphones will make a significant impact, bridging the digital divide and empowering citizens in the face of digitization.