Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

4G/5G

Eswatini backs out of Trump's 'Clean Network'

Article Image
The Kingdom of Eswatini has backtracked on its previous promise to join former US President Donald Trump's "Clean Network" program.

Last week Connecting Africa reported that Eswatini had become the first African nation to join the program, which is working to exclude Chinese companies from national telecoms infrastructure, especially 5G networks.

But in a new statement seen by Connecting Africa, Eswatini's Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology said it was withdrawing a previous joint statement by Eswatini representatives and US counterparts made on January 15, 2021, "due to legitimacy issues surrounding the approval process of the document."

"The ministry understands the paramount importance of Telecommunications infrastructure security and fact-based and standards-based approach in addressing security challenges," reads the statement signed and stamped by principal secretary of the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology, Maxwell Mazwi Masuku, on January 24, 2021.

"We also believe we should place equal emphasis on development and security for the best interest of the Kingdom of Eswatini," it adds.

The original announcement by the small Kingdom came as something of a surprise as African countries have historically been friendly to China and telecoms operators across the continent often use Chinese vendors for major infrastructure projects.

Cleaning house

The Clean Network program was launched last year, and its mission was to make sure that Chinese vendors are not connected with US telecommunications networks. It also extended to removing Chinese apps from US app stores and stopping Chinese cloud computing providers from accessing data on Americans.

It publicly named the vendors and operators that are considered "trusted" by the US government and called on "all freedom-loving" countries to ban Chinese suppliers from their critical telecom infrastructure.

With Trump officially out of office, it's still unclear how new US President Joe Biden's administration will move forward on issues like 5G and Chinese companies' involvement in US telecoms networks.

Whether the Clean Network program will keep going is also unclear, but for now no African nations will be joining its ranks.

Related posts:

*Top image source: Background photo created by natanaelginting - www.freepik.com.

Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Hot startup of the month: Kenya's Swifttdial

Kenyan company Swifttdial is helping companies in Kenya and Nigeria set up cloud-based virtual call centers, with plans to expand further into West Africa.

Story

Hot startup of the month: Egyptian telemedicine platform Vezeeta

Vezeeta, an Egyptian telemedicine platform, had a big 2020, raising US$40 million in Series D funding and expanding its healthtech services into Kenya and Nigeria.

More Innovation hub

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Flash poll

All polls

Latest video

More videos

Upcoming events

East Africa Com
May 11-12, 2021
Virtual Event
Africa Tech Festival
November 8-12, 2021
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Sponsored video

More videos

AfricaCom perspectives

Story

AfricaCom Interview: Onica Makwakwa on closing the digital gender gap

The Alliance for Affordable Internet's head of Africa, Onica Makwakwa, shares her views on how to narrow the digital gender gap and the challenges keeping women offline on the continent.

Story

AfricaCom Interview: Tunde Fafunwa on how the ACIP is fighting COVID-19

Tunde Fafunwa from the UN Economic Commission for Africa explains how the Africa Communication and Information Platform (ACIP) is helping Africa's battle against COVID-19.

Story

AfricaCom Interview: Temidayo Oniosun on Africa's space and satellite industry

Space in Africa founder, Temidayo Oniosun, shares his views on the challenges and opportunities in the African space and satellite industry.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Partner perspectives

How mobile operators in Africa can address signalling threats and secure the network
By Katia Gonzalez, Head of Fraud and Security at BICS

SD-WAN and satellite how MNOs and telcos can enjoy the best of both worlds
By Ofer Asif, SVP BizDev, marketing and strategy at Spacecom

Africa's mobile operators need better roaming monetization for growth
By Damion Rose, product manager for Mobile Signaling and Roaming Solutions at BICS

All Partner Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up