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Sunday, 25 October 2020

Egypt is being drawn into the US-China tech war

Egypt is being drawn into the US-China tech war: The US State Department is urging Egypt to avoid working with “malign actors” like the Chinese Communist Party to develop its 5G infrastructure and instead work with American firms. During a media roundtable in Cairo on Thursday, State Department Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment and former DocuSign CEO Keith Krach suggested that Egypt would be missing out on a global shift in diversifying supply chains and moving manufacturing out of China, and said that working with Chinese firms would undermine security and data protection. Krach invited Egypt to join the “Clean Network” — a group of some “like-minded” 40 countries and 60 telecoms companies “committed to securing their most sensitive information” — and offered to help finance Egypt’s 5G infrastructure through the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). Krach was in Cairo for high-level talks with the communications and trade ministers. A statement from the Trade Ministry made no mention of discussion about Chinese involvement in Egypt’s 5G network.

The US looks set to spend mns to take developing countries out of China’s 5G orbit: The DFC said in December that it was tapping into its USD 60 bn budget to help developing countries and businesses purchase equipment from a number of US tech firms, steering them away from China’s Huawei and ZTE Corp.

Egypt already has strong tech ties with China, with a number of top Chinese outfits having done business here for years. Huawei has an established presence in the country, serving the North Africa region with grid services out of its OpenLab center in Cairo, and is actively involved in construction and tech projects. Huawei trialed 5G coverage during Afcon 2019 and was reported to be in talks with the government to work on upgrading Egypt’s electricity grid.

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