Huawei Starting from Pakistan by 2021 Connecting 23 Countries in East Africa
Huawei, China, is planning to build a submarine fiber optic cable with a total length of 15,000 km, starting from Pakistan by 2021, connecting countries in East Africa and ending in France. The project is being financed by the Chinese Construction Bank. In 2018, China completed the submarine fiber-optic cable linking Brazil and Cameroon on the west coast of Africa. Part of the cost was supported by China Export-Import Bank.
Huawei has an overwhelming share in the third world mobile communications market. According to the US-based China Africa Research Institute on the 2nd, Huawei has entered 23 African countries. Huawei accounts for about 70% of the African LTE market.
China’s ‘Belt Road Initiative (BRI)’ strategy is evolving into a ‘digital one-to-one’ business, including the construction of 5G (G), optical communication networks, and artificial intelligence (AI) surveillance systems. It is particularly widespread in third world countries. Digital one-on-one is simply a one-on-one business where information and communication technology (ICT) companies, such as Huawei, enter the participating countries to build wireless communication infrastructure. China calls it the “Digital Silk Road,” but the US and the West are wary of China’s attempts to gain control of third world networks and strengthen its influence.
According to the US think tank report, Chinese ICT companies are exporting AI-based surveillance systems to third world countries. Huawei, ZTE, and Hike Vision will provide facial recognition technology to 36 countries participating in the project one-on-one. Many countries, including Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Myanmar, and Iran, have been pointed out for human rights issues. Zimbabwe recently commissioned the introduction of facial recognition technology in China, and 15,000 Chinese surveillance cameras were installed in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The term ‘digital silk road’ appeared in official official documents in 2015. Digital Silk Road has three stages. First is the construction of communication infrastructure. Huawei and ZTE, Chinese telecommunication equipment companies, will enter the network, supply 5G system, high-speed Internet network and data center. Second is the collaboration of satellite-based location information system (Beijing), AI, and quantum computing. Location information systems and AI are important areas of security. The third is to establish digital free trade zones and e-commerce systems to create economic interdependence.
Huawei and ZTE are spearheading this strategy. Huawei established a cloud data center in Egypt last February and has signed a contract to establish a data center in Algeria. The Tanger Tech smart city, which is being built in Morocco, is expected to accommodate 200 Chinese technology companies. In Tunisia, Chinese ICT companies are actively involved in the process of realizing the ‘2020 Digital Tunisian National Strategy’.
China is also working on an ambitious undersea fiber optic network project. Huawei Marine, a subsidiary of Huawei, was established in October 2018 and is planning to build a submarine internet optical communication cable with a total length of 15,000 km. It is a grand plan to reach France from China via Pakistan and northern Africa.