Mara Phones chief urges Africa action


ASHISH THAKKAR


Mara Phones

INTERVIEW: Mara Phones CEO Ashish Thakkar called on operators, device manufacturers, authorities and philanthropic bodies to push beyond the theoretical and create schemes to boost connectivity in Africa.

Thakkar said it was important to bring all the key players around the table for solid action on increasing connectivity, noting there was a need to ensure companies involved were in it for the long haul.

“Being a device manufacturer, government or telco can’t just tick your box automatically,” he added. “We need the right players who are passionate about this cause, who are a really in this in a selfless manner where it’s about transforming lives, not their balance sheets.”

Mara Phones is a smartphone manufacturer marketed as an authentically African device maker. It donates a proportion of its revenue to regional good causes and works in partnership with financial institutions on a range of payment terms to try and widen access to its handsets.

Thakkar said he hoped its actions in Africa would “start shifting the narrative” and showcase the continent is ready to do high tech manufacturing.

In addition to sales in its home continent, the executive added the company had shipped its affordable devices to a range of other countries including those in Western Europe and North America.

During the interview, Thakkar also discussed the key features for affordable devices aimed at underconnected communities.