Digitalization could contribute to Africa’s faster development. The American Internet company Google has said it plans to invest $1 billion in Africa over the next five years to provide local access to faster Internet.
The firm promised to support startups to support the digital transformation of the continent.
Accelerating the development of Internet infrastructure in Africa will obviously help to bridge the global digital divide. However, some American media recently claimed that Chinese telecommunications networks are “occupying the cyberspace of Africa with unprecedented speed, exerting political influence.”
Why are some American media and politicians still looking at China-Africa Internet cooperation with such bias? The essence of their concern is that, compared to the development of cooperation between China and Africa, the United States has done too little to promote the modernization of Africa.
Africa’s development prospects have never been a real concern of the US. After World War II, the United States began to pay attention to Africa because of the need to compete with the Soviet Union to become the only world superpower.
Now the US is vilifying the win-win Sino-African cooperation. Sino-African cooperation brings tangible benefits to the local population. The successes achieved are reflected not only in the material infrastructure, such as dams, electrical networks and drainage systems, but also in the significant improvement of educational and sanitation conditions. Many surveys conducted by American institutions in Africa show that China has become the most popular country among the African population.
Digital development has become a precious opportunity for Africa. Digital transformation leads to a new economic revolution, and economic development and growth can only be achieved by following the trend of digital development. In addition, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has made humanity more dependent on technology than ever before, and the development of the digital economy has opened up a rare opportunity. In this context, Africa’s digital development should be taken seriously and the digital divide between Africa and developed countries should be narrowed.
In the context of global development, more attention is being paid to how to promote digital connectivity in developing countries. According to a review published by the WTO Aid for Trade Initiative, the demand for telecommunications infrastructure in developing countries is constantly growing, and all of them have expressed concern to varying degrees about the inability to be included in the global value chain. This requires the support of the international community, and China is really making efforts in this area.
As one of the fastest growing continents in the world, Africa is experiencing a higher demand for digitalization. According to a report by the Africa Data Center Association, Africa needs 1,000 MW of new capacity, or about 700 new data centers. For Africa, harnessing the opportunities of digital development requires a long-term vision and political wisdom.