China’s role in East Africa’s technology stack


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The technology stack, either in a company or a country, is composed of the different technology layers that together form a digital communications ecosystem. In places like East Africa, Chinese technology is indispensable up and down the stack — from the internet cables and telecom base towers that deliver connectivity to the mobile phones that consumers use, much of the infrastructure is Chinese-made.

So when the U.S. government focuses a disproportionate amount of attention on Huawei, and ZTE to some extent, it’s missing the much-bigger picture, where Chinese technology is pervasive throughout East Africa’s digital ecosystem.

Moreover, Chinese tech companies aren’t just playing in the hardware space. They’re also becoming increasingly active in the African app market, ecommerce, and laying the groundwork for emerging technologies, including blockchain and cryptocurrencies. 

Michael Kimani is closely following all of this from Nairobi, where he’s an independent blockchain adviser to companies and governments in the region. He joins Eric and Cobus to share his insights into the latest Chinese tech trends in East Africa and why he thinks companies like Huawei are well positioned in the market.