- Chinese firm Huawei's operations in Africa have raised eyebrows in recent times, given the nature of the services they provide
- The US totally banned them from implementing a 5G service while the UK granted them limited access for the same purpose
- Some US senators have written to the UK government to reconsider its decision
Some activists have expressed worry as Huawei is deploying surveillance technology in selected African countries.
There have been intense debates in Europe and the United States of America (USA) resulting from the national security implication of granting Huawei approval to play a role in the construction of the new 5G networks.
While the UK has granted limited access to the China-based company, the USA has totally ruled them out and sourced other companies to implement 5G.
Even though Huawei recorded $121 billion in revenue in 2019, some US officials see the company as a potential spy for the Chinese government.
Qz.com reports that some US senators have recently urged the UK to reverse its decision in the wake of substantive security, privacy and economic threats.
In Africa, Huawei built up to 70% of its 4G infrastructure but it has been accused of selling technology to possibly repressive governments.
In 2019, it was rumoured that Huawei aided the Ugandan and Zambian governments to track opposition politicians, including the popular musician and MP, Bobi Wine.
Huawei has, however, defended its use of surveillance measures and stressed the impact of its initiatives on local crime rates.
It argued that its technological solutions have multiple benefits, some of which are not well known to the public.
The company indicated that some of its projects are not publicised for security reasons.
Meanwhile, Africa has been recognised as the biggest market for Chinese cellphones that cost less than $100.
More than half of all smartphones sold in Africa, especially in 2019’s last quarter, cost less than $100 and very likely originated from China.
Records available show that shipment of smartphones to Africa increased by 5.4% to 24.4 million units during the Black Friday and Christmas seasons.
Shipment of feature phones fell by 2.6% to 34.4 million units but still dominated the market with a 58.4% share because they are affordable.
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