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Kenyans Buy 390,000 Locally Assembled Smartphones


Locally assembled smartphones are gaining traction in Kenya, with 390,000 devices purchased since the initiative began in October last year.

Information, Communications, and the Digital Economy (CS) Eliud Owalo highlighted that the country’s efforts to produce affordable smartphones are progressing well, with increasing market demand indicating the initiative’s potential for significant success.

Speaking during the launch of the Jitume Project at Seme Technical and Vocational College in Kisumu County, Owalo emphasised that cheap devices are key to bridging the technology gap, which has undermined the optimal uptake of government digital services.

‘We recognise that many Kenyans still lack access to smartphones. The government, in collaboration with the private sector, has initiated the assembly of affordable Kenyan smartphones locally. This means we won’t need to import phones from countries like China or Korea,’ he stated.

The Neon brand handsets, retailing at Sh7,499 per unit, are available at all the S
afaricom branches or the Jamii Telecom shops countrywide.

‘These smartphones come with all essential features, allowing users to access government services conveniently from anywhere. There will no longer be a need to visit government offices in person,’ Owalo added.

The CS assured that with the digital transformation led by the Kenya Kwanza administration, Kenyans will benefit from efficient and effective government services without needing personal connections in government offices.

‘It will be a direct interaction between you as a Kenyan, your phone, and the government. You won’t need to know anyone in a government office to access these services. You will be able to apply for an ID or a passport virtually,’ he explained.

To further the digital transformation agenda, Owalo mentioned that the government has partnered with Kenya Power Company (KPC) to expand fibre connectivity, ensuring reliable and sustainable internet access across the country.

Since January 2023, the government has installed approxim
ately 11,000 kilometres of fibre optic cables, with a target to reach 100,000 kilometres of fibre by 2026.

‘We are shifting from the traditional method of laying fibre cables underground, which is prone to vandalism. Instead, we will utilise KPC transmission lines,’ Owalo said, adding that KPC has already engaged 300 contractors, distributed evenly across the country, to begin the project.

‘We will extend fibre connectivity to all existing 74,000 transformers. Once fibre is connected to these transformers, we can provide internet access to nearby institutions and public spaces such as market centres,’ the CS noted.

Additionally, Owalo confirmed that the last-mile electricity connectivity project is ongoing to ensure sufficient electricity supply to support the digital infrastructure.

Source: Kenya News Agency