Kenya made a key technological stride after the official opening of the East Africa Device Assembly Kenya (EADAK) that seeks to assemble smartphone devices locally to make them more affordable.

The device assembly factory in Athi River, Machakos County has been established through a joint venture between local Mobile Network Operators and International device manufacturers.

The new mobile devices, which are expected to retail at Sh7,500, will be available for purchase countrywide at Safaricom and Faiba shops and dealer stores as well on the Masoko online platform.

The 4G-enabled Neon 5 Smarta and Neon Ultra are the anchor phones at launch with more varied phone devices expected to unveiled in the coming months, among them a locally assembled tablet.

The plant is part of President Ruto administration’s pledge to build local smartphone assembly capacity and has the capacity to produce up to three million mobile smartphone units each year.

Ruto says the provision of affordable devices is no longer about mobile telephony alone but also about universal access to private and public sector goods to drive digital transformation in Kenya.

“The EADAK assembled smartphone, which will cost about Sh7,500 and comes with pre-installed e-Citizen to enable more Kenyans to access government services easily,” said the President.

He added, “We have the benefit of both cheaper devices, approximately 30 per cent less, compared to imports and creating jobs locally. The EADAK plant currently employs 300 people.”

EADAK Chairman Joshua Chepkwony, who is also the Jamii Telecom Chairman & CEO, noted that the assembly plant will support the national government’s agenda to enhance digital inclusion Kenya.

“We have been able to achieve affordability through a collaborative approach that comprises industry partnership and favourable government policies,” Chepkwony indicated.

The Kenyan factory is projected to generate between 300 and 500 direct employment opportunities, while enhancing the development of local talent and contributing to the country’s economic growth.

“The launch of EADAK reaffirms our belief in the power of connectivity to transform lives and drive economic progress,” indicated Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa.

Ndegwa added: “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.”