By Philip Emase
A Kenyan telecommunications firm has launched a cheap solar powered mobile phone for the low  income market. Dubbed Simu Ya Solar, the phone was developed by Safaricom Limited in  partnership with Chinese telecoms giant ZTE. It costs a modest $40, has a built-in solar  panel that taps energy from the sun and comes with a conventional charger. It also provides basic internet access and its battery can last up to 24 hours when fully charged.
The eco-friendly phone is already retailing in various parts of Kenya, barely two months  after Samsung began selling the world’s first commercially released solar-powered cell phone  in India. It comes at an opportune time, when Kenya is grappling with power rationing after poor rains led to critically low water levels at its main hydroelectricity generation dams.

Kenya depends on hydroelectric power for about 60% of its energy needs. The current shortage  has forced its government to impose nationwide power cuts, but even so, only about 15 per  cent of the country’s 37 million people have access to electricity under normal circumstances.
“This solar charged phone will come in handy particularly in the rural parts without grid electricity,” Safaricom’s CEO Michael Joseph said. Simu Ya Solar will also be released to other African markets apart from Kenya.
News from Africa

Baobab Africa
Baobab Africa People and Economy reports the continent majorly from a positive slant. We celebrate the continent. Not for us the negatives that undermine the African real story of challenging but inspiring growth.

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