Digital neo-colonialism : the Chinese model of internet sovereignty in Africa

09 Nov 2020

China is making a sustained effort to become a 'cyber superpower'. An integral part of this effort is the propagation by Beijing of the notion of 'internet sovereignty' - China's supreme right to govern the internet within its borders and keep it under rigid control. Chinese companies work closely with Chinese state authorities to export technology to Africa in order to extend China's influence and promote its cyberspace governance model. This contribution argues that the rapid expansion across Africa of Chinese technology companies and their products warrants vigilance. If African governments fail to advance their own values and interests - including freedom of expression, free enterprise and the rule of law - with equal boldness, the 'China model' of digital governance by default might very well become the 'Africa model'.