Inside Nigeria's first smartphone assembly plant

April 21, 2017
5 min read

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

Sandeep Natu, Divisional Head;AfriOne
Sandeep Natu, Divisional Head;AfriOne

We went through the reception area into the factory proper.

Reception area of the AfriOne Limited Assembly plant
Reception area of the AfriOne Limited Assembly plant

There is an Automatic Shoe Cover Dispenser machine

AfriOne Automatic Shoe Cover Dispenser machine
Automatic Shoe Cover Dispenser machine

The shoe cover machine provides protective nylon automatically over the shoes to protect the factory from contamination

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Inside the factory itself, there are four assembly lines with conveyor belts and workers manning each unit.

AfriOne smartphone assembly plant
AfriOne smartphone assembly plant

The red and blue bins are used to take finished products out and bring in components for the workers.

Afrione Smartphone Factory Launch 17
Blue and red colored bins
Workers at the AfriOne smartphone assembly plant
Workers at the AfriOne smartphone assembly plant

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.Afrione Smartphone Factory Launch 16

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We also saw the quality control department, but before reaching there, we took a detour to the large storage facility for finished smartphones.

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Afrione Smartphone Factory Launch 67

Afrione Smartphone Factory Launch 60

Afrione Smartphone Factory Launch 41

AfriOne storage for finished smartphones

Storage for finished smartphones

In the quality control department, there were different machines to test the integrity of finished smartphones.

Afrione Smartphone Factory Launch 65

Afrione Smartphone Factory Launch 38
Hydration Chamber

Afrione Smartphone Factory Launch 33

Afrione Smartphone Factory Launch 35
Microcomputer Insertion Force Testing Machine
Afrione Smartphone Factory Launch 37
Drop Test Machine

This machine puts the mobile device through extreme conditions; heats it, freezes it and puts the smartphone through every extreme temperature imaginable.

Afrione Smartphone Factory Launch 64

Afrione Smartphone Factory Launch 31
Condenser Test Machine

Then a multi battery charger for new batteries to be inserted into smartphones.

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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. 

tech. media. startups. africa. vc | Twitter: @victor_ekwealor
tech. media. startups. africa. vc | Twitter: @victor_ekwealor
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tech. media. startups. africa. vc | Twitter: @victor_ekwealor

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