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Rwanda Unleashes First Smartphones Made Entirely in Africa

The Mara Group has opened a new plant in Kigali to manufacture two smartphones, the Mara X and Mara Z.

The next cellphone in your pocket may be devoid of that ubiquitous "Made in China" lettering, opting instead for "Made in Rwanda," as the first-ever smartphone manufacturing plant opened in Kigali yesterday. The plant was launched by the Mara Group and will manufacture two smartphones, the Mara X and Mara Z.

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Photo courtesy of Shekudo.

Made In Africa: Shekudo Is the Accessories Brand Putting Nigerian Craftsmanship & Artisans First

Shekudo founder Amy Akudo Iheakanwa speaks in-depth on the challenges of relaunching her brand in Nigeria and more.

Shekudo is the brainchild of Nigerian-Australian designer Amy Akudo Iheakanwa. She uses textiles to create luxurious accessories that draw women in. Where Nigeria offers her her aesthetic, her Australian background contributes to the way she markets her free, easy-going products. Produced in Lagos, Shekudo prides itself on local artistry and social responsibility. It's purpose is to employ artisans and expose the craftsmanship that is alive and well in Nigeria.

Iheakanwa co-founded the brand with Shetu Bimpong but is now the sole creative director, and the February repositioning of the Shekudo has been critical. The brand is now backed by inspiring and necessary narratives of all sorts. It is the story of a founder who has embarked on a journey of self-discovery. It is the story of finding inspiration in the kaleidoscope of colors found in the bustling city that is Lagos. It is the story of Nigeria's 500-year-old aso oke process. It is the story of the number of hands that contribute to making a shoe, bag, or earring from scratch and a community of weavers, silversmiths, shoemakers and carpenters.

Though in its early stages, Iheakanwa has great plans to expand her production and incorporate community through training and capacity building for destitute women with limited options and skills available to them. With today's African diaspora serving as the frontrunners of cultural influence, brands like this one can only shine.

We sat down with the founder of Shekudo to learn more about the brand.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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