by Rachel Ogbu
27-year-old Verone Mankou has released what is believed is the first ever African-designed smartphone.
The Congolese inventor who designed what was billed as Africa’s first tablet computer launched the smartphone into the market and it went on sale on December 27, in the Republic of Congo.
The phone called the Elikia, means “hope” in the local language and has a 3.5-inch touchscreen, 512 megabytes of RAM and a 650-Mhz processor. Its camera is five megapixels, and it also comes with GPS and Bluetooth.
Mankou, head of the company VMK, said the Android-powered device was only in Congo for now, but he planned to launch it in other countries.
The phone was initially due to go on sale in October but its launch was delayed “because of an explosion in demand,” he said.
Though the phone is Congolese by design, it is manufactured in China. It costs about 130 euros ($170) — a considerable sum in this Central African nation.