On the occasion of Huawei in the United States, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) found that “Google is off for Huawei”. The matter has also made headlines in Africa.
On the African continent, Huawei is the only leading enterprise in local telecommunications construction. Up to 70% of the IT backbone networks in the region are built by Huawei. No supplier can build telecom infrastructure at Huawei’s price and speed.
Huawei’s network infrastructure equipment and mobile phones are very popular in Africa. In a May 28 report, BBC reporter Dickens Olewe described that most Africans who use mobile phones to access the Internet “are very likely to use a Chinese brand mobile phone, built through a Chinese device” network to connect to the Internet. At least half of these people are using Huawei’s mobile phones.
Eric Olander, a researcher at South Africa’s China Africa Project, points out that Huawei has built a lot of infrastructure in Africa. “If the United States really succeeds in making this company inoperable, the technology companies that have emerged in Africa in recent years will be very painful because the companies they rely on (Huawei) are targeted by the United States.”
BBC reporter Orvieu analyzed that African countries did not speak in this dispute between Huawei and the United States. It is not difficult to understand that Huawei’s smartphones have a high market share in Africa, and it has established a 4G communication network for many African countries.
Bob Collymore, chief executive of Safaricom, a major wireless network company in Kenya, said earlier that “Huawei has been a good partner for many years.”
Huawei opened its first office in Africa in 1998, and analyzed that it has an advantage in the competition for African 5G contracts. Cobus van Staden, a China relations researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs, pointed out that Huawei is the first company to discover the potential of the information technology industry in Africa. It also has the funds to support its local investment.
Starden believes that the US ban on Huawei has caused some anxiety in the African market, but Huawei can still counterattack. “There are not many US companies that understand the African market. They will not design products for Africa. But Huawei can use the current situation to create products that truly serve African users.”
He pointed out that cheap Chinese mobile phones allow many Africans to connect to the Internet. They focus on whether the mobile phone can use two SIM cards at the same time, how long the battery can be used after charging, rather than pursuing an operating system.
According to the analysis of the Quartz Africa page of the news website of Atlantic Media, Africa should continue to support Huawei and ignore Trump’s ban. After all, for the people of the African continent, connecting to the Internet at an affordable price is the first consideration.
The author of the article, W. Gyude Moore, is a visiting scholar at the Center for Global Development. From December 2014 to January 2018, he served as the Minister of Public Works of Liberia, overseeing the construction and maintenance of public infrastructure.
When the US President’s National Security Assistant Bolton described the US government’s African strategy, he emphasized the view that the United States chose Africa as a stage against China’s rise and its influence.
It is also inevitable that regardless of the impact of the trade war on China, Africa will feel this impact.
Huawei is the only leading enterprise in the construction of telecommunications in the African continent. Up to 70% of the IT backbone networks in the region are built by Huawei. No supplier can build telecommunications infrastructure at Huawei’s price and speed. In addition, there are many people in the local area who are looking forward to IT-related work in the future.
According to the report, if Africa’s choice is limited to European and US telecom providers, the African connectivity and mobile penetration rates we see today are impossible to achieve.
The United States has been busy banned all countries in recent times, but the report believes that it is unreasonable for any African country to adopt such a position. After all, even the United Kingdom and Germany are still planning to continue to use Huawei. Even Britain and Britain are not worried about “national security.” What are the African countries worried about?
At present, Africa is still a continent where institutions, infrastructure and technology coexist in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. It is also a continent with a smartphone penetration rate of 33%. South Africa is the only country in the region with at least half of its population online.” Therefore, in Africa, the most worrying thing is not that the opponents launch attacks through the construction of communication systems, but whether each country can connect to the Internet at an affordable price.
If the choice of our world is limited to products such as Samsung or Apple, the popularity of smartphones will be terrible. For Africa, many people are too poor to afford these phones. Africans use Chinese-made mobile phones to connect to fast and affordable networks using China’s network.
The analysis believes that when Africa’s strategic interests are contrary to the US ban and choices are made, spending will be a key factor.