This is what US-China digital cold war means for Africa

How digital cold war between United States and China is affecting the technological scene in Africa.


In 2019, Africa hosted two important individuals representing two geopolitical rivals and two different technological paradigms. Jack Dorsey and Jack Ma, co-founders of Twitter and Alibaba respectively, visited African countries that included South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria, meeting tech-savvy youths, the future-holders of African tech. The visit of the two "Jacks" is highly symbolic of US-China digital and technological cold war and rivalry. Is Africa going to choose between US and China or is the continent going to use this opportunity to play a more germane role in the global technological and economic scene?

Restructuring of global economy and infusion of new technology

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 saw several technological breakthroughs globally (such as contactless temperature scanning techniques, face recognition despite wearing face masks), increased e-commerce, as well as the rise in adoption of existing technologies due to restrictions as a result of the pandemic – for example, Zoom downloads saw a massive increase from 56,000 daily downloads in January to 2.13 million daily downloads in March 2020. Additionally, Alibaba nearly doubled its Singles Day gross merchandise sales volume from $38 billion in 2019 to $74.1 billion in 2020.

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