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China's Controversial Technology Partnership with South Africa

The Chinese and South Africa governments have signed a pact, or a “plan of action,” where Beijing will provide a broad array of technology training, skills transfer and ICT development for South Africa’s emerging technology sector. The agreement also includes provisions for cybersecurity consulting, implementation of so-called ‘e-government’ initiatives and rural technology development.

As the world’s largest ICT market, China is well-placed to assist South Africa with its technology development. After all, it was less than 25 years ago when just 1 out of 100 Chinese residents had a phone line and today the PRC is the world’s largest telecom, Internet and personal computer market.

Nonetheless, China is also home to one of the world’s most restrictive Internet environments where the government exerts strict control over what sites can be accessed and what can be said online. Beijing’s repressive Internet governance policies are prompting some opposition politicians in South Africa to loudly protest against the government’s new ICT partnership with China.

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