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SA still an attractive investment destination - Mara Group's Thakkar

Rwandan billionnaire investor Ashish Thakkar said he had created 200 long-term skilled jobs and he hoped that his investment led to the creation of a further 1,500 indirect jobs in the long-term, with the opening of South Africa’s first fully-fledged cellphone manufacturing plant in Durban.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on 17 October 2019 toured the Mara Group Cellphone Plant launch at Durban Dube Trade Port. Picture: @GCISMedia/Twitter

DURBAN - Rwandan billionaire investor Ashish Thakkar said despite the problems that South Africa faced - including power blackouts – the country remained an attractive investment destination for the manufacturing sector.

Thakkar addressed journalists on the sidelines of the opening of South Africa’s first fully-fledged cellphone manufacturing plant in Durban.

Thakkar – who owns the R1.5 billion facility - said he had created 200 long-term skilled jobs and he hoped that his investment led to the creation of a further 1,500 indirect jobs in the long-term.

For the first time ever, a smartphone will have a logo saying "Made in South Africa".

This followed the launch of the Mara cellphone manufacturing plant in Durban.

The Mara cellphone is the first to be developed and manufactured in Africa.

Mara Group founder and CEO Ashish Thakkar explained why Durban was the perfect choice.

"Durban became very strategic in terms of how to get across the country, how to also export out of. Durban was very strategic and frankly its been a fantastic decision."

Thakkar said that he was not deterred by the latest power cuts.

"Load shedding is obviously not an ideal scenario for any investor in any country, however, like I said, this is a long term investment, this isn't an investment for the short term, for the now. With the long term mindset, this is not going to be the case forever."

While it was a first for South Africa, the Durban plant was the second of its kind in Africa.

The Mara Group recently opened the continent’s first cellphone manufacturing plant in its home country of Rwanda.

WATCH: Ramaphosa attends launch of SA's first smartphone factory

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