President Ruto Pledges Smartphone Manufacturing Plant in Kenya

President Ruto Pledges Smartphone Manufacturing Plant in Kenya

H.E President William Ruto has pledged that in the next 8 to 12 months Kenya will have the cheapest smartphone manufacturing plant.

Speaking during the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry AGM, Dr. Ruto said that the government is working with local Telcos to have the smartphones go for less than KES 5,000.

“The real last-mile technology is the gadget. Today, the cheapest smartphone ranges between KES 10,000 to 15,000, we want to see if we can get it to $30 (KES 3,000) to $40 (KES 4,000),”

The president indicated that in less than a year, Kenya will be manufacturing the cheapest smartphone in Africa through local plants.

According to the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA), the country has over 26 million smartphone devices out of 59 million mobile phone devices, putting penetration levels at 53.4 percent.

However, Kenya’s smartphone market is awash with Asian-based manufacturers with Transsion Holdings leading the pack accounting for more than 40 percent of the smartphone market In Kenya, with its brands Tecno, Itel and Infinix.

Samsung comes at a staggering second at 20.35 percent.


Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Device Vendor Market Share

The country has proven to be a haven for tech buoyed by cheap internet costs, the low cost of entry-level smartphones from the Asian market, and more importantly, the rising usage of social media.

Approximately 8.3 million Kenyans are active on social media, contributing to high smartphone sales. Kenyan users spend close to three hours a day on social media, primarily using TikTok, Whatsapp, Facebook, and Twitter.

Kenyan Tech Space

Kenya is ranked as one of the top fastest-growing digital economies both regionally and globally owing to the thriving tech scene which is home to the most cutting-edge startups on the continent.

The country boasts one of the fastest internet speeds in the world thanks to its undersea cables, which have made it a connected landscape. Kenya’s $1 billion tech hub is home to more than 200 startups, as well as established firms like IBM, Intel, and Microsoft.


Just like Kenya, Rwanda announced it has forayed the production of its newest product the Maraphone – the first made-in-Africa back in 2018. So far, three versions, including Mara X1, Z1, and S are produced locally in Kigali.

The factory opened its doors in 2019 in Kigali Special Economic Zone, Gasabo District, and is touted as a key breakthrough for Rwanda.
President Ruto’s regime has identified ICT as the cog in catapulting the economy. Borrowing from the previous administration, the government is recognizing ICT as a critical pillar in national development and the attainment of the goal of becoming and remaining a global leader in the knowledge-based economy.

“Our ambition to become Africa’s ICT hub, a Silicon Savannah pulsating with innovative energy remains a valid dream”, he said in a statement.

So far, President Ruto has pledged to introduce 100,000 kilometers of fiber-optic connectivity to actualize universal broadband.

The government is also funding connectivity support for 17 Level 4 hospitals, connecting 100 law courts to a Local Area Network and connecting 25 institutions in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training sector.

With the local phone manufacturing plant, it remains to be seen if Kenya will finally live up to its dream of becoming Africa’s Silicon valley.