AfriOne Nigeria Limited launched Nigeria's first assembly plant geared towards the manufacture of smartphones and other consumer devices. According to a spokesperson for AfriOne;
This marks the availabilty of the first in-country produced smartphones for sale in then Nigerian marketplace.
The fact that AfriOne range of smartphones are said to be the "first Nigerian-made smartphones", is true to a certain extent. The assembly plant located along the Oshodi Expressway of Lagos state assembles smartphones and other devices from imported components.
The AfriOne assembly plant was launched with the Champion and Gravity range of smartphones but will produce more consumer devices and accessories. AfriOne co-founder and CTO Hemang Kapur said;
We [will] offer a wide range of feature-rich and technologically loaded product lines from dual sim mobile phones to educational tablet PCs and even android smart watches
The assembly plant currently employs a staff strength of 150 -- 200 one the lines, administrative and non-administrative staff.
A pictorial look inside the assembly plant
We were taken on a tour of the facility by Sandeep Natu the Divisional Head of AfriOne
We went through the reception area into the factory proper.
There is an Automatic Shoe Cover Dispenser machine
The shoe cover machine provides protective nylon automatically over the shoes to protect the factory from contamination
Inside the factory itself, there are four assembly lines with conveyor belts and workers manning each unit.
The red and blue bins are used to take finished products out and bring in components for the workers.
There is an Automatic Screw Feeder that standardizes the fixing of screws on smartphones. This machine calibrates the process of screwing the phones shut to perfection.
We also saw the quality control department, but before reaching there, we took a detour to the large storage facility for finished smartphones.
Storage for finished smartphones
In the quality control department, there were different machines to test the integrity of finished smartphones.
This machine puts the mobile device through extreme conditions; heats it, freezes it and puts the smartphone through every extreme temperature imaginable.
Then a multi battery charger for new batteries to be inserted into smartphones.
AfriOne is primarily assembling smartphones at the moment. But according to Sahir Berry the founder and CEO of the company, assembling is just the first step in a long term run that will involve eventually producing the components in Nigeria. According to Sahir;
For now, we import components to assemble the mobile devices, but that is going to change in the nearest future, even closer than anybody anticipated. For instance, the plastic battery cover of the phones can be produced right now in Nigeria, and we will start there.
[UPDATE on 21 April, 2017 @ 10:20PM]: The AfriOne assembly plant is definitely the first of its kind -- in that it is primed to assemble smartphones.
However, in January 2014, the Osun State government commissioned Ghanaian-based RLG to set up an assembly plant in Ilesha, Osun state. With a claimed capacity to produce 5,000 mobile phones and 2,500 laptops per day, 50,000 feature phones were reportedly delivered by the plant in May, 2015.
There are however conflicting reports that claim the phones were 'repackaged', rather than assembled.