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Mara receives over Rwf 130 million for tea farmers’ smartphones

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The cheque was handed over to Mara Phones Rwanda CEO,Eddy Sebera in presence of the Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire.

As part of ongoing efforts to connect Rwandans with smartphones, Mara Phones Rwanda has received Rwf 134.4 million from Rwanda Mountain Tea Ltd to supply 344 smartphones to tea farmers in Kitabi, Rubaya, Nyabihu, Gatare and Rutsiro.

The cheque handed over to Mara Phones management in presence of the Minister of ICT and Innovation and MTN management follows the commitment to connect tea farmers with Mara Phone smartphones as Connect Rwanda Challenge kicked off early December 2019.

Connect Rwanda challenge (online campaign) was initially launched by MTN in partnership with the Ministry of ICT and Innovation last year early December urging more institutions and individuals to join the race to connect Rwandans.

The cost of smartphone models that Mara Phones Group is producing in Rwanda are Rwf139,000 for Mara X and Rwf180,000 for Mara Z.

According to the Ministry of ICT and Innovation, the cost of smartphones from Mara  factory that will be committed to supporting the needy was brought down from Rwf139,000 to Rwf100,000.

Speaking at the handover ceremony at MTN Headquarters in Nyarutarama on 6th February 2020, the CEO of Mara Phones Rwanda, Eddy Sebera reiterated the commitment to keep supporting the noble cause and highlighted that pledging Mara Phones smartphones is a testament of quality products.

“This is a strong commitment we have taken to accompany you and connect all the unconnected. We thank you because pledging our phones is another testimony that we deliver good products serving the purpose,” he said.

“This initiative is commendable and touching to see that we are serving our community. There is no doubt that we will continue as manufacturers to be part of this initiative. We are proud to be part of it and thank Rwanda Mountain Tea for being among the very first to honoring the pledge,” further stated Sebera.

Alain Kabeja, the General Manager of Rwanda Mountain Tea Ltd said increased smartphones penetration will enable tea farmers to access digital services as the country migrates into digital economy.

“Rwanda Mountain Tea has many groups comprised of a large community of tea farmers. We were the fast to join Connect Rwanda Challenge among the first pledges with a commitment of 1344 smartphones to be distributed to tea farmers affiliated to different tea factories in Nyabihu, Ngororero, Rutsiro, Nyamasheke, Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru districts,” he said.

Kabeja reiterated the company’s commitment to keep supporting noble causes in line with Rwanda’s development agenda.

The Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire thanked MTN Rwanda and Mara Phones for supporting the cause as well as Rwanda Mountain Tea for walking the talk with one of the many honoured pledges received over time since the beginning of Connect Rwanda Challenge.

“It is very exciting to see that many people have committed to putting smartphones in the hands of families that have never owned one. These pledges are finally being honored and we are getting ready for the distribution,” she stated.

With smartphones, people can pay school fees, connect to banks, and know the prices of agriculture outputs and pay for fertilizers using Smart Nkunganire system, pay for Mutuelle de Santé subscriptions access Irembo e-government service portal, health services and weather-related information among others.

Currently, the internet penetration in the country is around 52% while mobile subscribers are 9.6 million of whom only 1.7 own smartphones, according to figures from the Ministry of ICT.

So far, more than 32,000 smartphones have been committed since the launch of the campaign.

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