Alle gebruikersplasings Black Star FM News . Durban , Republiek van Suid-A

In 2018, FOCAC culminated in a total $60 billion promise by the Chinese to back numerous major infrastructure projects across Africa, with a mix of loans and grants underwritten by Chinese financial institutions, including the Export-Import Bank of China. It was all seen under the auspices of China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), to build roads, bridges, and ports across the world, fully connecting China to the global economy via a modern-day Silk Road.

But it is the evolution of the “Digital Silk Road,” a term coined by Xi in a 2015 state white paper, that has quietly become a contentious topic for China-Africa watchers. The Digital Silk Road (DSR) includes everything from cross-border e-commerce, smart cities, and fintech apps through to big data, internet of things, smartphones, and undersea cables. These projects don’t grab headlines like shiny new Chinese-built airports and railways or spark panicked fears of China’s “debt trap diplomacy.” But the unfettered influence of Chinese firms developing every step of the digital ecosystem in nearly all African countries has become a growing point of concern, particularly for China’s rivals in the United States.

As Motolani Agbebi, a researcher at Tampere University in Finland, told Rest of World, significant Chinese involvement in Africa’s telecoms sector actually predates DSR. Between 1999 and 2001, Huawei and ZTE first started working consistently on the continent, supported by China’s “go out policy,” which promoted the internationalization of Chinese companies.

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