Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Digital Inclusion

Kenya opens smartphone assembly factory

Article Image
Kenya has officially opened a local device assembly factory with capacity to produce up to 3 million mobile phone units annually.

The East Africa Device Assembly Kenya Limited (EADAK), located in Athi River in Machakos County just outside of Nairobi, was officially opened by Kenyan President William Ruto this week who said that the Kenyan government is prioritizing the production of affordable smart devices to boost digital access in Kenya.

The plan to produce local low-cost devices was announced back in May 2023 and the facility is a joint venture of local mobile operators Safaricom and Jamii Telecom and Chinese manufacturer Shenzhen TeleOne Technology.

President Ruto said that "going digital on a large scale" will spur Kenya's growth and will also bring the country closer to realizing its development agenda.

Kenyan President William Ruto tries his hand at device assembly.   (Source: The Presidency of the Republic of Kenya)
Kenyan President William Ruto tries his hand at device assembly.
(Source: The Presidency of the Republic of Kenya)

"This assembly plant will support 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," said Joshua Chepkwony, chairman of EADAK and chairman and CEO of Jamii Telecom.

The locally assembled devices will be available across Kenya at Faiba shops, dealer stores, Safaricom shops and on the Masoko online platform and will retail from 7,499 Kenyan shillings (US$50) each.

The anchor smartphone devices at launch will be the 4G-enabled Neon 5 inch "Smarta" and a 6.5 inch "Ultra," with more devices in the range to be launched in the next few months.

The plant also plans to produce a locally assembled tablet device.

Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa and Kenyan President William Ruto show off a new smartphone from the EADAK which will retail from around US$50.   (Source: Safaricom)
Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa and Kenyan President William Ruto show off a new smartphone from the EADAK which will retail from around US$50.
(Source: Safaricom)

The factory expects to generate between 300 and 500 direct jobs, foster local talent development and contribute 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. 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," added Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa.

Safaricom is Kenya's biggest mobile operator with about 67% market share at the end of September 2023, according to statistics from market research company Omdia, a sister company of Connecting Africa.

Meanwhile Jamii Telecom is the country's smallest operator with less than 1% market share. Airtel Kenya had almost 27% market share and Telkom Kenya had 5.6% of the market over the same period.

Made in Africa smartphones

EADAK claims to be the first of its kind facility in East Africa, which is half true.

The Mara Corporation launched the Mara Phones smartphone factory in Kigali, Rwanda back in October 2019 – although this was touted as a device manufacturing plant and not just an assembly plant like EADAK. Mara's devices were also more high-end retailing at between $130 and $190 at the launch.

Follow Connecting Africa on our new X account @connect__africa to get the latest telecoms and tech news across Africa.

The Mara Group opened another high-tech smartphone manufacturing plant in Durban, South Africa in October 2019 but the facility faced financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its creditors put it up for auction in February 2022.

Related posts:

*Top image is of workers at the East Africa Device Assembly Kenya facility in Athi River, Machakos County, Kenya. (Source: The Presidency of the Republic of Kenya).

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub


Ilara Health aims to improve quality of care in Kenya

Kenyan healthtech startup Ilara Health aspires to improve the quality of care in the country's clinics by providing equipment financing and digitizing facilities with its software.


Orange opens digital center in Guinea-Bissau

Pan-African operator Orange has opened an Orange Digital Center (ODC) in Guinea-Bissau.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Follow us on X

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Cyber Revolution Summit
August 9, 2024
Gaborone, Botswana
Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 12-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Africa Tech Perspectives


Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.


The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.


Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Guest Perspectives


Leadership Lessons: The importance of mentorship for career growth

By Nollie Maoto

Nollie Maoto, First Rand Group's compliance chief data and analytics officer and Africa Tech Festival Leadership Council member, reflects on the importance of mentorship for career growth for African women in data analytics.


Omdia View: May 2024

By Omdia Analysts

May 2024's telecoms highlights in the Middle East and Africa included African 5G subscriptions surpassing 5 million, growth from SpaceX's satellite Internet service Starlink, and a major fiber partnership in the Middle East and North Africa.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up
Tag id test-002