President Rupiah Banda talks to workers at the Mobile Telecommunications mobile telephone assembly plant in Lusaka
President Rupiah Banda talks to workers at the Mobile Telecommunications mobile telephone assembly plant in Lusaka

A US$10 million mobile phone manufacturing plant, known as M-mobile Telecommunications Zambia limited (M-Tech), has officially opened in Lusaka.

This is the first ever cellular phone manufacturing company to open in Zambia.

President Rupiah Banda officially launched the plant today and said the company would employ over 200 Zambians in various capacities.

President Banda said among the 200 Zambians that would be employed will be engineers, technicians and may others in various technical fields.

He was happy that the company would benefit Zambians through employment creation, technology transfer and human resources development among others.

He stressed that government would continue to create a conducive and competitive environment for the private sector to thrive in various sectors of the economy.

“Keeping Zambia competitive begins with keeping our economy growing. And our economy can only grow when a lot more Zambians invest in the domestic economy,” he said.

President Banda said Zambia was now boasting of home-grown corporations which he said were now among the largest in Africa.

The President said government was determined to continue facilitating actual production of mobile phones, adding that this would greatly help reduce the cost of communication in the country.

He further said this was aimed at adding value to the country’s economic development process, which was a significant step towards the realization of the vision 2030 of transforming Zambia into a middle income country.

He explained that the mobile phone manufacturing investment has come at a time when the country is facing the global financial meltdown that has put pressure on most of economies world wide.

Speaking earlier, M-Tech chairperson, Seedat Mohamed, said the M-Tech cell phone were a fully registered Zambian brand, which would grow to make the country proud.

Mr. Mohamed noted that the technology used in the cell phone manufacturing was of superior standard, adding that it meets all international requirements.

He said the phones have the best reception to all the three net works as they were fine tuned in Zambia.

Mr. Mohamed said the company will be producing about 1,000 phones per day which will cost about K200, 000 (US$36) each.

ZANIS/AH/WM/KSH/ENDS

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88 COMMENTS

    • They need to reduce dust particles having contact with the components, hence the protective wear.

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    • Stripper, I hope your question is just one of those jokes. But, if you are seriously asking that question. Then I wonder which questions my grandma in Zambia would be asking. Electronic and software gadgets are highly sensitive to conditions such as very low or high temperatures, dust particle, radiation, humidity, etc. So, the environments where such gadgets are being manufactured or stored must strictly be controlled. But, I know you are just being funny. Cos if you live in any industrialised country you can almost everyday watch such similar programs being shown.

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    • Thank goodness they are protecting their workers, though if its dust protection, where are the surgical masks?? Hope its not that hankie-like thingy dangling around the necks. This company could actually be owned by genuine infestors, oh sorry investors. But what happened to regulation the manufacturing unit so as to get rid of dust in the first place.

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    • There may be a fair amount of soldering going on as well, in which case vapours and fumes become of concern, and masks advisable for long shifts (though for truly dangerous fumes filter masks are a must).

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    • And remember they are already employed before the plant was established.It dnt call for celebration pantu these days “its who u knw” for u to be employed.Corruption yekayeka.I guess fi Banda fyalilongana ukukwine

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    • funny u shud say that, is this the company that caused the uping of duty on inported fones? if i can make a wild guess the shareholder’s list pro grz

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    • I hope they make imitations. I work for a chinese company and my collegues get me imitations from china. I can get the Nokia E90 for 80USD. My collegue just got a Samsung Omni yesterday for 70 USD. Instead of samsung, they call it sansang. These phones are great….

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    • its assembling, but why its called manufaturing company, its RB to know! its gud development though.

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    • the phone is call Rukia Ru-kia, Ru for Rupiah and kia like no-kia, some suggest Bwe-nfone for Bwezani and phone but was dismissed later as too similar to benefone

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  1. Ka sample kaili…………..pictures.. so.. configuration. Atleast give us a glimps of a……. a……. a ……..a ……..a (US$36) brand new fon. Whats the average pay for engineers?? if not equivalent to 4 M-Tech fons, Ubunga ni shinga? Nga amalaiti? Step ahead anyway…

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  2. I still think RB has nothing to do with this! This was Levy’s making so RB please hear the call and resign.

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    • Let us learn to give credit where it is due. Instead of being bitter, why not appreciate this current development that will add to Zambia’s development.

      You need to do some growing up.

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    • Wonderful development, and hopefuly a step towards greater economic diversification.

      Wyeint, RB was vice president under Levy as well, if you’ve forgotten. Moreover, successive governments reap the rewards or failures of their predecessors. Just because the right wing media is trying to portray Obama as the cause of the US’ economic problems, that does not mean he should “hear the call and resign”. He is simply accounting for the bad legacy Bush left behind, and the president after him will reap his rewards as well.

      There has been at least one positive government initiative reported daily by LT for the past few weeks, yet time and time again, people will constantly find something…

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    • Manufacturing, assembling, who cares? We can employ Zambian Electronics graduates. This is commendable!

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  3. QUOTE “President Banda said Zambia was now boasting of home-grown corporations which he said were now among the largest in Africa” END OF QUOTE. Can somebody tell me which home grown the president was refering to? Or did he mean “African grown” like ZEIN?

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    • It reduces the price of cellphones.

      A high quality cellphone at the price of $36 USD is a good deal.

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    • Now, unless u’ve actually seen and used it, u’re not actually qualified to call it high quality. Or do high sounding words simply appeal to you.

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  4. Is this a cell phone manufacturing or assemblying facility? The motor assembly plants all collapse. What will keep this going?

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  5. For the thousands sent into the streets due to redundacies and company closures, millions watching us from other countries. Zambia is in trouble because despite never been at war, our employment figures are scandalously low. This assembly plant will at least benefit directly the 200 people to be employed. I know the salaries will be low due to depressed demand, low number of people with money to buy the phones & other factores like #3 above.Well done indeed all the same for this initiative to set up a plant pa Zed. Gud luck.

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  6. As long as those guys are not Zambian and they are tax exempt they will just assemble those things there, pay peanuts to employees,milk our country and externalise the profits. When you tell them to pay tax they will pack their bags and bounce.

    What we need to know is what stake, in this new development, is actually Zambian. The best is actually that those guys are based there, manufacture from there and export to neighbouring countries and earn forex. Not just relying on local market. But if those guys are not Zambians they will also maybe open factories in neighbouring countries too, this will mean no Forex.

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  7. 200 pine? they better be of good quality we don’t expect U JIN TAU phones or any other related names.

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  8. 200 pine? they better be of good quality we don’t expect U JIN TAU phones or any other related name.

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  9. i believe it’s supposed to be an assembly company and not a manufacturing one, but clearly our president can’t distinguish between the two. surprise, surprise!
    “President Banda said Zambia was now boasting of home-grown corporations which he said were now among the largest in Africa.” there i was thinking this company was owned by Malaysians.

    i’m a lay man when it comes to these matters, but is there such a thing as a phone operating perfectly because it was “tuned in Zambia”. so they mean to say the ‘M-tech’ will work better than my Nokia because it was “tuned” here? what rubbish!!!

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    • Nine Chale i also hope it will be the beginning of good things to come. I also hope it is not one of those fly by night companies that close down after a few months leaving people unemployed and destitute.

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  10. Atleast we are moving forward, with manufacturing that is( or is it assembling). I personally dont expect these phones to be on the levels of Nokia N95 or iphones but atleast we have started something. All these cellphones that we are trying to compare the zambian ones to all started from somewhere. So instead of conderming and trying to find faults lets support and encourage more manufaturing companies in zambia, and exporting copper as a raw material and later importing it to as a finished product to use in these cellphones.

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  11. It seems to me to be an assembly anyhow the whole thinh is confusing on one iunstance they mention the phones have been fined tuned to Zambia-meanining its an assembly on the other instance they say its a fully registered compnay for Zambia making genuine product in the sense that they are not getting it from somewhere else.LT we need accurate information please help us and dont mislead us from your heading and the content of the stories.Please help us to establish which is which.

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  12. They call it Zambian but M Seedat is the owner. His not Zambian is he? Indians will always run our economy just like the Chinese and the West.

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    • Then stop complaining and come back from the UK. Foreigners built the USA, Locals can learn from good minded foreigners

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  13. Reliable Sources have just informed me that it is manufacturing plant. They fabricate the handsets from the outer covering to the Printed circuit board inside. They also make batteries and the SIM cards. I am also informed that they have employed a number semi conductor engineers, physics, behavioral scientists, Telecommunications engineers, design engineers, Software engineers and testing technicians

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  14. Thats cool then thanks Njinja Yobweleka for the info. although I feel you name should read ‘Jinga Yobweleka’ instead.

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  15. Good Lord , it is not a manufacturing plant. It is an assembly plant, that two weeks ago cost $3m. What has changed in the last two weeks to cost $10m? At $40 a peice, these phones are still more expensive than what many Zambians can afford such as the Ultra low cost phones promoted by the GSM ecosystem. If you want to help Zazmbians own phones you need to bring them down to at least around $15-18 a piece, remove duty on imported cell phones and excise duty on air time. (Sorry talk time.. has run out).

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    • Look for your strengths! why re-invent the wheel, bwana? Buy spares, assemble and sell! Its the information age! South Africans mostly assemble cars, look how many people they employ. Besides those 200+ people employed there, I am sure there are opportunities to supply whatever to this factory. Boeing parts are sourced from all over the world, wake up don’t just politicise everything! I am sure as they improve their processes, costs can come down

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    • #24.1 Progressive thinking here too , for us as a nation to succeed we need positive thinking .Look at the way Finance bank is serving the rural population in Zambia so incredible .When bankclays was closing some rural branches Finance bank was doing the opposite ,this is being a truly Zambian company…

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  16. Manufacturing Industry is key to economic growth. The ministry of commerce shuld protect local indusry but i think in the Tech industry, this coampny will have to compete with blueberry,i-phones,blackberry and other high tech hand sets from outside Zambia. Kafue Textiles, NCZ, Kapiri Glass and other industries helped Zambia’s economy to boosm. Govt should not only focus on new industries but take care of the old ones as well. Mining sector should not just mine but create end products. London Metal Exchange should not longer determine our price of copper and other minerals. Zambia should have its own metals and exchange commission in order to get out of this economic malaise.

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    • Amen! Zambians cry diversify, diversify. When small steps are taken towards that, what do they say? Corruption! Bastards, lets appreciate our own. We can’t just be proud of Mosi

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    • # 25.1 for once I am in agreement with you .Lets nurture and cherish that which is purely a Zambian initiative. Its a pity ZA is grounded ……

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  17. This is a good development but I would like to urge all Zambians to not be sleepy and not help this industry thrive.

    We as Zambians have a duty to make sure this particular industry thrives and we can also do something to benefit from this industry. Some of us are in countries like South Africa, Kenya and the like. We can set up cellular retailers in those countries which will be selling these Zambian made phones. We can also set up such retailing outlets in Zambia to benefit the local demand.

    The plant is in Lusaka, how many Zambians have already started the plans of opening shops in the copperbelt selling these phones so as to ensure this company thrives.

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    • We have a duty as Zambians to support our local industries so instead of blaming RB, why not we also do something.

      Let us be innovative.

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  18. Just wait until they start stelling utu ma parts panonopanono and start making phones mumushi..lol

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  19. Nice piece of news on Zambian agri-business on BBC. Just shows how important Agriculture is to our economy. This has lifted my spirits!!

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  20. Great stuff. But why are President RB Banda and others seen in the picture without clean room attire/clothes?

    On the meeting of international standards, does the chairman of M-Tech imply ISO 9000 and 1SO 14000 and others.

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    • Yes maestro HH, a callous responses to why RB and his team are not in appropriate Hi-tech gear are presumably this was merely a launch and just some demo not real stuff yet , but the techs had be clad in real attire . secondly theirs was a short stay with less biological emissions as compared to prolonged stay. SI no idea furnish me on this not a physicists but medic ….

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    • Thanks. SI, I guess is ISO which is International Standards Organisation. ISO 9000 deals with quality of the product including workmanship with regard to the product – testing issues and the like – while 1SO 14000 deals with environmental issues in terms of pollution and habitability of the working environment.

      Its one thing to produce a product, but another to ensure that the whole process is healthy for the supplier and buyer of the end products.

      I hope this clears the matter!

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  21. People let us show appreciation where its due in this case it is a success storu to have opened a manufacturing industry for mobile phones in our country.The price seems cheap because it is where its being manufactured where its being sold prices go higher and when exported the destination place where it will be sold pays for transportation and taxes meaning the prices even go higher.Even you are buying phone in whatever country you are in the seller would have paid that and you say you have bought an expensive phone.Where is was coming from it was cheap.

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  22. Machocholi yazativuta mu Zambia, cell phone manufacturing company? Ba Ho ho Gentele babwela from CHINAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

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  23. This is a quote from The Daily Mail – “Mr Banda urged Zambians to take advantage of the opportunity to fully utilise the locally manufactured mobile phones as opposed to sourcing phones from foreign markets, especially in these difficult times.” – I hope reading between the lines this does not mean the Government curbing competition by attempting to limit the sourcing of phones from foreign markets.

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  24. 21Bhutta!!! says:
    March 11, 2009 at 4:29 pmThey call it Zambian but M Seedat is the owner. His not Zambian is he? Indians will always run our economy just like the Chinese and the West.

    I dont agree with you and i think you are being racist it doesnt mean if someone is Seedat therefore he is not Zambia, it doesnt mean if someone is not black/Negroid then the person is not Zambian.It doesnt matter where ones ancestry(whether white/Caucasian or asian)comes from all are Zambian.The colour of the skin doesnt matter RB said that his family & Seedat are family friends and saw him…

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  25. cont… (seedat) grow.Into the man he is now. Zambia is a country that has people who have origins from different parts mostly from Africa Like the Nkoya there origin is traced to have come from Sudan the Bemba from Congo DR, The ngoni from South Africa. The whites mostly from UK, The Asian mostly from China, then there other who came from India and all these people came a long time ago in Zambia many have been born in Zambia and there parents were there even before independence.

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    • Trigo thats was a nice History lesson. My point in where are the real Zambians Indeginious in the development circle. I can tell you thats its only the white, Indians, Lebs and Chinese who are succesful in Zambia. lets start with M-tech, Lamasat, Lamise, Trade Kings, Zambeef, Nyiombo the list is endless. These are all Zambian Successful businesses started very small, but they are all by the zambian minority. Where are the successful Black Zambian Businesses?? and dont mention ZA- (wasila)

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  26. UNDERTAKER the first line of the this article says, “A US$10 million mobile phone manufacturing plant, known as M-mobile Telecommunications Zambia limited (M-Tech), has officially opened in Lusaka”.
    I hope that helps. We need more NEW companies to pen up plizzzzz!

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  27. This is a great development for Zambia. Hopefully, this will give impetus to more manufacturing industries to be set up in our beautiful country. Currently the major business model most business people know is ‘buy and sell’. The cell phone factory should act as a paradigm shift for us all.

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  28. Indeed this a great start. Whether he is a zambian or not doesnot matter, the benefits are going to come to locals. May be many of the indirect jobs will be created apart from 200 direct jobs. So the success or failure of this venture is with locals. instead complaining why dont u enjoy this moment. Remember, something is better than nothing.

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  29. I think Zambians need to travel(a son who dosen’t travel praises his mother’s cooking)US is in a huge mess regarding employment,companies moved to the east coz of cheap labour,the Chinese took advantage and used that to build their economy to a point where they give the US, 3billion$us a day!so as Zambians we should find ways of learning the ways of business and attract other industries,our population is small so even to create more jobs would not be hard and anyone looking for work would be employed within a week,from high paying to low wages,it should be done and we will do it….

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  30. :x thats good for all Zambians, its bringing pride to all Zambians of course not forgeting employment!!!
    hope there is more to come and more people to be employment!!

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  31. I read this story with some interest. I’m English but my Fiancee is originally from Zambia. IMHO, Zambia is a sleeping colossus with such vast potential. It needs a break however and initiatives like this are certainly a way forward. I remember the first time I checked out one of the very first Samsung mobile phones-they were miles behind the likes of Nokia but that was 15 years ago and now look at them! This may be in world terms a small start but lets not forget there is a new Cellular Technology called 4G which has just been trialled in the US. Now if this initiative could encompass the new 4G standard there could be massive potential-the whole of Africa and beyond beckons. Look back at this posting in 15 years times- remember you read it here first!

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  32. Hello Zambia I like Zambia I live just 3 month,but i wont to live or work in Zambia.
    Good luck all .
    From Uzbekistan

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