So China recently hosted the second Belt and Road forum, which saw heads of states from mainly the developing countries flock to Beijing. There are those that would argue the heads of states were drawn in like a moth to a flame in the hopes of securing loans from the dragon nation.
Kenya was among these countries, and the President returned home with some of the loans the government was hoping to get. Turns out, China’s President Xi Jinping for the first time turned down part of the loan. A move that took the West by surprise, and they readily welcomed it.
However, for the loan the government of Kenya did secure, part of it (Ksh. 67.5 billion) will go towards setting up the Konza Data Center and Smart Cities Project in the country. And as it has been the tradition with Chinese loans – cloak and dagger – the money from the loan will be used to pay a Chinese company.
That is to say, Huawei automatically got the contract to set up the data center and smart city project in Kenya. Never mind that there are allegations that China placed listening bugs at the African Union complex in Ethiopia they generously build for the organization.
There are those allegations by the U.S. that saw Huawei ICT hardware and devices banned from being used in the local telecommunication infrastructure. In Kenya, like most developing countries where these development are financed by Chinese loans. The company seems to get the contracts, and the cybersecurity integrity of its hardware is rarely questioned if at all.
Kenya through its Ministry of ICT conceived the idea of setting up a data center and smart cities project back in 2017. The project entails a National Cloud Data Center, Public Safe City, Smart Traffic Solution, Smart ICT Network, a Government Cloud, and Enterprise Service.
The company was also roped in to install the CCTV cameras in Nairobi through a contract awarded to Safaricom. As to whether the cameras are still functioning or not, remains in doubt since when it was called upon during the Dusit D2 attack it failed to capture the terrorist’s itinerary to the establishment.