Kenyan telecommunications companies have joined hands with international manufacturers to open the first local phone assembly plant.
This factory, named East Africa Device Assembly Kenya Limited (EADAK), is located in Athi River.
It was established following the government’s commitment to create a local smartphone assembly capable of producing up to 3 million units every year.
EADAK’s chairman, Joshua Chepkwony, announced during the launch that these phones will be sold for a starting price of Ksh.7,499.
You can find them across the country in Faiba shops, dealer stores, Safaricom shops, and on the Masoko online platform. At the outset, EADAK will introduce the 4G-enabled Neon “Smarta” with a 5-inch screen and the “Ultra” with a 6.5-inch screen.
Additionally, they plan to release a locally assembled tablet in the upcoming months.
This new assembly plant is expected to create between 300 and 500 direct jobs.
Peter Ndegwa, the CEO of Safaricom, emphasized, “The launch of EADAK reaffirms our belief in the power of connectivity to transform lives and drive economic progress.
This partnership underscores our relentless pursuit to expand 4G access and empower Kenyans through affordable, high-quality smartphones, create employment opportunities, and grow our economy.”
Back in May, Kenyan telecommunications companies estimated an annual production of between 1.2 and 1.8 million devices, with the cheapest phone expected to cost Ksh.11,500.
This price was more than double the target President William Ruto set the previous year, aiming to have locally manufactured mobile phones priced at less than Ksh.5,000 (approximately 50 USD at the time).
Karanja Gichiri, Safaricom’s Head of Ventures and the EADAK Project Lead, explained that the higher prices were due to new taxes on mobile phones introduced in the Finance Act of 2023.
Despite their efforts to find affordable chip suppliers, these taxes caused a 40% increase in the prices.
Gichiri shared, “If we were to work towards the vision of a 50-dollar phone, we would need to address import duty, excise duty, and output VAT.
The final cost of a phone would be between 6,500 to 7,000 shillings at most.”