China may soon start dictating the grounds of functioning in most countries in Africa because of the growing surveillance that it has created in the continent.
Addis Ababa: China may soon start dictating the grounds of functioning in most countries in Africa because of the growing surveillance that it has created in the continent.
An astounding number of government buildings have been constructed by the Chinese for over 35 African nations. In 2018, a French newspaper broke the news of Chinese entities stealing sensitive data from the African Union’s building in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, according to a report in The Singapore Post. Computers in the building were found to have rigged clusters of servers that enabled the data transfer back to Shanghai in China.
It was reported that the whole process had been made easier to rig due to the Chinese authority’s involvement in financing as well as facilitating the construction of the building for the African Union.
The incident led to widespread calls across the continent for a complete review of Chinese projects in various countries.
However, in a total contrary move, not only have Chinese projects in the continent seen an increase but also construction of government and ministerial buildings through Chinese funds have increased, reported The Singapore Post.
Chinese investment in the African continent has witnessed a staggering upshoot in the past two decades. Infrastructural projects ranging from roadways, railways, ports, electricity hubs, fishing industries to telecommunication frameworks are quite rampant across the continent.
The African continent combined altogether owes China a deficit of USD 93 billion dollars which is predicted to reach an astounding USD 153 billion in the coming years.
In a report by the Heritage Foundation, it was revealed that China has till today constructed and renovated around 186 sensitive African government buildings, 24 presidential buildings, 26 parliaments and parliamentary offices, 32 military offices and 19 ministries of foreign affairs buildings, reported The Singapore Post.
In continuation of the same strategy and a far more serious concern, China has been facilitating the 4G network in Africa of which 70 per cent has already been built and is planning to deploy a 5G network soon in the whole continent. Countries such as Namibia.
Ghana, Angola, Uganda, Equatorial Guinea and others are amongst the recipients of the greatest number of government official buildings being built by Chinese subsidiary firms or directly by the Chinese government.
According to The Singapore Post, this has also been added with donations of office equipment, including computers for ministries and parliaments in various African countries.
Many opposition leaders have also on different occasions questioned the prevailing government’s decision to accept sensitive equipment from the Chinese government.
It is needless to say that there is a high probability that China has made such important equipment prone to Chinese malware attacks in which it can access sensitive information similarly to the case in the AU building.
Cyber-security experts have also questioned whether African countries have the capabilities to prevent such forms of infringements.
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Moreover, China’s surveillance desire does not seem to end with developmental projects alone. In recent years, Chinese firms have been partnering with local administrations in various African countries for technology transfer on various occasions, reported The Singapore Post.
For instance, in Zimbabwe, the government is working with Cloud Walk, a Guangzhou-based Chinese tech firm, to establish a mass facial recognition program.
Similarly, in Uganda, the police force has acquired AI-enabled CCTVs from the Chinese firm Huawei, causing severe apprehensions amongst native citizens and other activists.
The larger question of Chinese surveillance in the region is a serious threat that needs to be dealt with immediately. It is prudent to state that African nations must show restraint while considering sweetened deals from China, for the CCP has had a tarnished history in terms of its attempt in espionage on countries it has invested in.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by HW News staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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