Where Africa Stands on this Trump and Huawei Issue

The US ban on Huawei, the Chinese telecommunication giant, introduced uncertainty that should force consumers to attempt to diversify their products—an option that is not currently available to the average African government. This forces African states into a choice they have not sought and would rather not make, since Huawei is the singular dominant player in the construction of telecommunications backbone across the continent. Up to 70% of the continent’s IT spine is built by Huawei with a combination of Chinese grants and loans. Africa is still a continent where 19th, 20th and 21st century institutions, infrastructure and technologies exist side-by-side. In countries like Liberia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Central Africa Republic, South Sudan, and even whole swathes of Nigeria, the overriding concern is not the potential of a devastating attack on critical IT infrastructure by an adversary who gained an advantage by building our systems. The concern is more prosaic—basic connectivity. It is about connecting each country to the internet in a way that is adequate, dependable and affordable. Africa’s strategic interests lie in a direction opposite to the US position on Huawei and with no like-for-like alternative from the West, it should be no surprise that when the internet fragments, as many are predicting it might, that cost will play a dominant role in what side Africa chooses.SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA

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