Kenya set to roll out 1 million locally-assembled smartphones in two months

ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo noted that prohibitive prices of smart devices have hampered the country’s plan for digital inclusion.

Kenya will in two months roll out the first consignment of one million locally assembled smartphones that will retail at affordable price of Sh5,484 ($40).
The launch of the phones, which are being assembled at the Konza Technopolis in Malili, Machakos County, is part of the government’s strategy to promote digital access and inclusion.
ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo noted that prohibitive prices of smart devices have hampered the country’s plan for digital inclusion.
“Based on feasibility studies undertaken, we can locally assemble smartphones at a unit cost of about $40. We have partnered with the private sector to ensure in the next two months, we can roll out our first consignment of low-cost smartphones,” said Mr Owalo during the official launch of the Information Communication and Technology (ICT) week at the Nairobi Safari Park on Tuesday,
“We are aware of the affordability crisis of smart devices as a potential hindrance to the ability of citizens to tap the full potential that this sector presents and we have actively engaged stakeholders in private and manufacturing to produce low-cost smartphones.”
The smartphone project comes as a lifeline for the Konza City whose fortunes have dwindled after failing to catch the eye of investors to support its development.
In 2013, 14 firms expressed interest in the ambitious tech city project, which was set to be carried out in four phases of five years each.
The local firms that showed willingness to participate are mobile services provider Safaricom and internet firm, Wananchi Online. Chinese firm Huawei Technologies, Korean electronics giant Samsung and Telemac are among foreign firms that sought to be involved in the project.
Kenya signed a three-year deal with the Korean government to accelerate implementation of Konza City in March 2022.
Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) data show that penetration of feature phones or non-smartphones is 68.1 percent at the end of December 2022.
Smartphone penetration in the country stands at 60.2 per cent.
“The number of mobile subscriptions increased from 65.5 million reported last quarter to 65.7 million during the reference period, representing a penetration rate of 133.1 percent,” said CAK in the latest quarterly report.
Due to the low uptake of smartphones, the CS reckons this has hindered the uptake of other government and financial services.
The government also plans to accelerate digital inclusion through an initial 5,000 kilometres of the planned 100,000 Km of fibre optic cable by June this year aided partially by funding from the World Bank.
The CS said Sh68.5 billion ($500m) is towards digital inclusion from the World Bank for fibre connection across the country.
“We have received USD500 million from the World Bank towards the digital transformation agenda, under the Kenya digital economy acceleration program
“We have a target of rolling out 5000km of optic fibre by June 30, on barded contractors and reached out to other government agencies including the Kenya Power and Lighting Company, Kenya Pipeline Company, Kenya Railways Corporation, Kenya Electricity Transmission Co. Ltd (KETRACO) and we’re good to go,” added Mr Owalo.
Under the infrastructure pillar of the country’s digital transformation agenda, the ambitious five-year plan to lay an additional 100,000 kilometres of the national fibre optic cable was first announced by President William Ruto in October last year, a month after he assumed office.
52 per cent of the proposed 100,000 kilometres of the national fibre optic cable will be laid by the government while the rest (48 percent) will be done by the private sector.
The project is aimed at hastening internet connectivity across the country, as well as making its access stable and reliable.

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.

Zeen Subscribe
A customizable subscription slide-in box to promote your newsletter

I consent to the terms and conditions