Chinese Telecommunications Companies in Africa. Alignment with African Countries’ Interests in Developing their ICT Sector?Megatrends Policy Brief 2022 07, 28.11.2022, 9 Pages
African governments and the AU have supported the development of the continent’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. China, too, has increasingly invested in that sector. This Policy Brief argues that while Beijing meets Africa’s need for the development, helps bridge the telecom gap and contributes to connectivity, there are risks surrounding China’s engagement.
Security cooperation has become vital for protecting China’s interests and investments in Africa, especially in the geopolitically important Horn of Africa (HoA). Now, it recently launched the ‘Initiative of Peaceful Development in the Horn of Africa’ and appointed its first special envoy for the region. Both steps suggest that China seeks to become a more prominent development and security provider in the region. As the EU and Germany currently re-evaluate their relations with Beijing as much as with African partner countries, questions arise about the substance of the HoA initiative and what the consequences for peace and security in the region could be.
China is investing in large-scale infrastructure projects across Africa. In Kenya, it has built several of these “mega projects”. While their economic viability remains to be seen, debates on the risks and benefits of Chinese investments and public debt are in full swing. 2022 is not only an important election year in Kenya but also a peak period of debt repayments. In this political climate, Chinese mega projects are either portrayed as symbols of independence and modernity, manifestations of usurpation, or colossal losing deals.