Kigali based Sahasra constructing mega factory to position as regional producer
India’s electronic manufacturer, Sahasra Electronics, is steadily strengthening its presence in Rwanda and the East African region now that the company’s factory in Kigali nears completion. With over 1600 square meters of space, the Sahasra factory under construction in Kigali’s Special Economic Zone will produce high quality LED lights and other customized electronic products to satisfy the region’s construction sector needs.
According to Sahasra Electronics Rwanda Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Mary John, production at the Kigali plant is slated to commence in about six months. “We are moving according to plan and I believe that we will begin producing LED lights and other customized electronics in Rwanda in about six months; to benefit the local market and neighboring countries,” she said. The company’s CEO intimated that during a market research around the region, it was discovered that demand for LED lights and willingness to shift from importing foreign commodities to purchasing locally available products in the region were found high.
She emphasized that the region needs to consume locally made products in order to facilitate economic development. Currently, Sahasra Rwanda is selling LED lights for both indoor and outdoor purposes imported from the company’s parent plant in India. Using LED lights over conventional lighting comes with numerous advantages including among others saving on energy consumption.
In practice according to Ms John, assuming that Sahasra’s energy saving lights are adopted for all lighting needs in Rwanda, the country would save about 30 percent of total energy consumption according to an earlier study by the manufacturer.
This presents part of the remedy to the challenges of limited electricity that the region and Rwanda particularly continue to face. The bottleneck of inadequate energy on supply plays down on the growth of businesses and therefore economic development in the country. “Generating more energy requires heavy investments that need to be accumulated over time. However sparing use of what is already available by replacing all lights with LED’s and utilizing a energy saving electronics can be done in a short while, and has enormous benefits,” Ms. John offered.
For individual institutions, using LED lights saves in numerous forms including cutting down replacement costs. Sahasra’s LED lights have high durability of over 50,000 hours on duty. This is reinforced with a three years warranty on all products. For instance in case of conventional lights, the bulbs or tubes require replacement at least three times a year according to estimates from cooperate institutions. Comparing with the LED lights produced by Sahasra, there are three years of guaranteed lifespan during which any faults or damages on the lights are repaired at no extra costs.
Besides the Rwandan market, Sahasra’s location of an LED lights manufacturing factory in Kigali is in other words positioning the company to supply to Africa. “We are not traders in LED lights but rather manufacturers and now we are going to be producing these lights from Kigali. This is the first plant of its kind in Africa and we intend to supply to the entire continent,” Ms John noted.
By setting up a production plant in Rwanda, Sahasra is contributing to substituting imports that continue to burden the country’s economy. Also upon commencement of production, the company will boost national export value by selling its products across Rwanda’s borders. With a booming infrastructure sector led by the construction industry in the East African region, having lights produced from Rwanda equally presents a relief from import dependence in the region.
Numerous analysts believe that the most probable way to grow local economies strongly is through increasing the inflow of foreign currency by placing more domestically produced commodities on other international markets. Sahasra’s plant is believed will go deep in increasing output from the construction sector in the region and particularly Rwanda.
In Rwanda alone, the construction sector has tremendously grown over the last decade and is estimated to follow the same trajectory for a couple of years to come. According to the National Bank of Rwanda, GDP in the construction industry more than doubled in a period less than five years from Rwf105 billion in 2006 to Rwf244 in 2010 while recent growth is estimated to have been enormous.
Notably the biggest challenge to the construction industry in Rwanda is the high import cost of materials especially those required in furnishing houses. This costs the country heavily and undermines socioeconomic development as it hinders the construction of low cost houses for Rwanda’s middle and lower income classes respectively.Sahasra’s electronics plant currently under construction is estimated will cost more than US$3million.