Ailing Nokia Thursday unveiled two cheap cellphone models inspired by the African markets, aiming to strengthen its position against low-cost Asian rivals.

Nokia shares have roughly halved this year as the firm struggled to keep up with the pace of smartphone development while also losing ground at the cheaper end of the market to Asian brands like ZTE and G'Five.

The Nokia 101, which comes with slots for two different SIM cards, will be available this quarter for about 25 euros ($35.22), excluding taxes and subsidies, while the Nokia 100 will be available next quarter for about 20 euros.

Nokia's first dual-SIM model reached the market only last quarter, enabling smaller rivals to benefit from growing demand for such models which are increasingly popular in countries such as India.

The latest models mark the fifth duo-Sim models for Nokia in the last three months.

Executives at the firm told a media launch in the Kenyan capital that Africa, with its 1 billion people who are mostly young, is a key strategic area.

($1=.7099 Euro)

(Reporting by Duncan Miriri and Tarmo Virki in Helsinki; Editing by David Clarke and David Cowell)