Made in Kenya
We’re delighted to say that, as of this week, we’re manufacturing Raspberry Pi Pico for the African market in Kenya, at Gearbox Europlacer in Nairobi.
Those of you who’ve been with us since the start of the Raspberry Pi story will recall that we began building Raspberry Pis in China in 2012. We immediately started work on reshoring, and built our first UK‑manufactured Raspberry Pi at the Sony UK Technology Centre in Pencoed, South Wales, in the summer of that year.
Over the following decade, we progressively relocated our production to the UK, to the point where today almost all Raspberry Pi products are manufactured four hours down the road from Pi Towers in Pencoed: from there we export them to customers all over the world. Notable exceptions are Pico W, which hails from Sony Inazawa in Japan; and the PoE+ HAT, which is built by our friends at Dongguan Taijie in China.
Building our products close to home allows us to iterate quickly, applying lessons learned in production to make them simpler, and cheaper, to produce. And having a factory in the UK, which is one of our largest markets, simplifies logistics and lets us respond quickly to changes in demand.
So it’s more than a little surprising to be writing an offshoring announcement. Starting this week, we’ll be building Raspberry Pi Pico products for the African market at Gearbox Europlacer in Nairobi, part of the Gearbox ecosystem. Roger is in Kenya now, helping the team there bring up the manufacturing process, and we’re expecting him to return with a freshly baked batch of “Made in Kenya” Picos by the end of the week.
Mike and I had the opportunity to visit Gearbox last month, to meet with its founder Dr Kamau Gachigi, and to tour the Europlacer facility with Latiff Cherono, its manager. What we found there was a state-of-the-art surface-mount assembly line, which in principle could be used to build almost any Raspberry Pi product. We’re starting with Pico, our smallest, simplest, lowest-cost product, but in due course hope to add others, including Pico W and Zero 2 W.
Why are we doing this? As with the reshoring of production to Wales, it’s a happy coincidence of self-interest and a desire to support electronic manufacturing in a country we care deeply about. By bringing parts rather than finished goods into Kenya, we pay lower import duties, and benefit from other government incentives; and by stockpiling components locally, we will be able to react more quickly to the rapidly increasing demand for our products in east Africa.
Approved Reseller partners in Africa
Our relationship with Gearbox Europlacer has grown out of the work we’ve been doing to build out our network of Approved Reseller partners in Africa. Since Ken Okolo joined us in May last year to run our Africa team, we’ve added eleven new resellers, and we’re on track to have at least one reseller in each country on the continent by 2025.
The scale of the opportunity in Africa is vast, and after seven days in Ghana and Kenya I’m definitely a convert. During our trip, we met the Ghanaian Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum (at 6.30am!), and visited STL Semiconductor, a silicon wafer processing facility in Nyeri, Kenya. Everywhere we went, the energy and enthusiasm we encountered, not to mention the welcome we received, reminded us of the earliest days of Raspberry Pi in the UK.
Within a few years, I believe the African Raspberry Pi ecosystem will be the equal of what we’ve built together in our more mature markets.
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This is great news. I hope this grows to a full-scale production of the RPIs product range, and to have them sold locally as well. We’ve waited for so long to have the govt type approval for Pi Zero 2W. Maybe this development will now jump over that obstacle.
Definitely a great move by the Raspberry Pi Foundation toward bringing affordable computing to Africa.
I’m really interested in this but I don’t know how it operate
You can find HOWTOs for so many projects you can do with the Pico.
Wonderful news to hear, looking forward to electronics manufacturing taking shape in Kenya.
This will be phenomenal for the local economy. May you start a whole new ecosystem of players coming to the region. There is so much potential with great people there.
Good day! Great news!
But more than a year has passed since the disappearance of RPis from stores, when will it return?
Wow, great news as Pi’s are just so useful. I work on a mine site in Western Australia, there is a simple process that is managed by a 3B or similar. Smiled & laughed when I saw it in its case.
That’s the action that has a multiplier for the region greater than 10 NGOs…
And here I am in North America waiting to get a 0-W-2 for under $150 bucks…
Best news in a while for me.
I hope this gains traction. I also hope that the price is very competitive to allow mass adoption.
Working with ICT authority, I will share my optimism for this project with him, hopefully get it involved in the next phase of digital literacy program
This is great news, I use Rpi 4 for my school project and it was a hustle to find one leave alone the peripherals like pi camera.
This will be so great for Kenya and Africa in general.
I have to keep checking the career page and hope I join the team as one of the on-site workers from Kenya.
This is amazing
Good work and strategy. Kenya is ready!
Let’s get this up and running in Ghana. The talent is certainly here. Normal computers are unaffordable for most people, but Pico and Zero 2 W are within reach, certainly for interesting STEM programmes in schools and communities.
Raspberry Pi Staff Liz Upton
Eben and Mike were actually in Ghana a couple of days before these pictures were taken in Kenya – watch this space!
Good news , and I hope next for B series made in ID
Incredible moments in Kenya and beyond.