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The Huawei Fuss and Implications For Africa’s Cyber Security

STEFAN WERMUTH / AFP

The last decade has seen unprecedented advances in technology, from machine learning used to forecast patient health outcomes to renewable energy and biofuels adopted across a range of advanced, emerging, and developing market economies. While there is much bluster about machine learning, robotics, and data science, 5G technologies appear to be an indispensable pillar in the modern-day economy. 5th generation technology – 5G for short – will enable a seamless interconnectedness of modern-day digital products and improve user online experience. From coffee makers to cell phones, cars, electricity, and washing machines, it reinforces tech and digital linkages that enable the smooth functioning of electronic systems.

 In 2018, the Trump administration sought to limit China’s technological expansion across 5G networks by imposing tariffs on Chinese goods and services, whilst deriding its 5G technology as spyware that can imperil national security for countries that choose to include it into the digital ecosystems. Since then, Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., and Britain have imposed partial or full restrictions against Huawei 5G technology. This could severely deter the adoption of Chinese 5G technology across the globe and enable a faster catch-up from tech companies in the West. A key example is Swedish telecom giant Ericsson providing 5G connectivity across Croatia.

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