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Entrepreneur launches first Africa-designed smartphone

A Congolese inventor has unveiled what he says is the first African-designed smartphone.

Verone Mankou, 27, told AFP that the so-called Elikia, which means "hope" in the local language, went on sale the day before in the Republic of Congo.

Mankou, head of the company VMK, said the Android-powered device was on sale in 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.

The phone 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 last year designed what was billed as Africa's first tablet computer.

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