As Western nations close doors to Huawei, Chinese telecoms giant finds warm welcome in Africa


Jevans Nyabiage

Huawei’s status as a major relay for China’s Belt and Road Initiative could further solidify its presence in the continent

African officials say they won’t be influenced by Washington’s fears that the Chinese company is a national security threat

As Britain was banning the use of Huawei in its next-generation networks last month, the Chinese telecoms equipment vendor was being used to power South Africa’s commercial 5G services.

South Africa’s data-only mobile network, Rain, introduced its first commercial stand-alone 5G network, which teamed with the Chinese company. Huawei has also joined with local telecoms firm MTN Group to launch 5G in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.

Kenya is expected to follow suit this year after the country’s largest telco, Safaricom, conducted pilot tests for Huawei’s new mobile internet technology.

Several other countries – including Lesotho, Egypt, Nigeria, Uganda, Senegal, Morocco, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon – have conducted tests and are at various stages of roll-out of 5G, which promises much faster download and upload times.


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