Chief Executive of CTI Africa, Michael Landau said the company plans to invest $10 million in Uganda. The funds will be used to build a plant to assemble low-end smart mobile phones and manufacture phone components.
CTI Africa notes that to provide affordable solutions in sectors like agriculture, energy, healthcare and finance to rural communities in Africa, it is essential to focus on digital technology.
In an interview with Reuters, Landau said the the company plans to build the plant in the capital Kampala and to eventually manufacture elsewhere in the country. He revealed that “from a realistic perspective we are hoping to be able to start delivering the phones in the early first quarter of 2019. We need to be manufacturing millions of phones, the cost of developing a building that can handle that sort of value is going be in the $10 million range”.
As a result of a young population and economic stability, foreign investment has flowed into Uganda’s IT sector over the last two decades. There are also more than 20 million mobile phone subscribers in Uganda, where the sector is dominated by a unit of South Africa’s MTN Group and a subsidiary of India’s Bharti Airtel.
According to Landau, CTI decided to take this bold step a result of a pilot project in a small community in central Uganda. In the pilot, CTI Africa tested the idea of harvesting personal health, financial, energy and agricultural data that the firm can then use to connect individuals with potential providers of services and products.
CTI Africa said it will assemble smartphones under the brand name LifeMobile. The smartphones will operate on Android and users can download standard apps from the system’s Play Store.
The LifeMobile handsets will have customised applications that users can use to access providers of a range of services and products including loans, renewable energy, healthcare, e-commerce and others.
Landau noted that CTI is in talks with some financial institutions to help provide hire purchase deals to customers. He added that the firm is also discussing with other African countries about similar investments.