Kenya’s biggest telecoms operator Safaricom will consider awarding China’s Huawei the contract to roll out its fifth generation (5G) network this year, interim Chief Executive Officer Michael Joseph said on Wednesday.
The move is guaranteed to irk the United states government which has been urging its allies not to use Huawei citing security concerns.
“I don’t think America is going to tell us what Kenya should or should not do.” Michael Joseph said. “We will use Huawei in 5G … What will we do in terms of the American statements about not using Huawei? We don’t have that situation in Africa.”
“Countries should be wary of authoritarian regimes with empty promises. They breed corruption, dependency,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently warned African governments of doing business with the Chinese. “They run the risk that the prosperity and sovereignty and progress that Africa so needs and desperately wants won’t happen.”
Involving Huawei in Safaricom’s 5G network could hamper talks on a free trade agreement between the United States and Kenya, which were announced this month.
Huawei already operates in 40 countries across the continent and is currently rolling out 5G in South Africa.
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