Africa in urgent need of economic and digital sovereignty

Own Correspondent

This year, the celebration of Africa Day on May 25 coincided with new protests on the territory of the African continent.

Mainland residents continue to fight for freedom, increasingly rejecting the influence of colonialists in the face of France, the United States and Great Britain. So in South Africa on May 25, hundreds of demonstrators of the Fighters for Economic Freedom (EFF) party marched to the French Embassy in Pretoria.

The protesters demanded that representatives of Paris leave the region.
“French colonialism continues to be the most brutal, cruel and diabolical form of colonialism. We, as a generation of freedom fighters, reject and condemn the fact that, decades after the declaration of the so-called independence of the former colonial territories, the colonialists continue to maintain colonial and neo-colonial relations with African countries that should have been freed from colonial control,” said the leader of the party, Julius Malema.

And earlier, on May 13, Mali was shaken by thousands of protests against French attempts to interfere in the affairs of the state. People spoke in support of the Government headed by Assimi Goit, as it defends the sovereignty of the republic.
However, even having lost direct levers of pressure on objectionable governments, the former metropolises retain economic instruments that allow them to “punish” those who are fighting for true sovereignty.
One of the important levers of Western pressure on the States of the African continent are the systems of international money transfers.

This is a key element of the financial infrastructure of the region, and it is of particular importance. The distances on the mainland are huge, the transport infrastructure is poorly developed and there are few banks.

Every day, hundreds of millions of Africans who have settled in large cities send money to families in the village. Tens of millions of emigrants who went in search of a better life in Europe or the USA are doing the same.

Note an important point that local companies also constantly need a reliable and cheap money transfer system, which they are happy to provide by caring “partners”. The market for such services is almost impossible to assess, but for individual segments, it can be assumed that it is huge.

The main players in this area are the United States of America with the Wave system, as well as the French mobile operator Orange, whose networks have entangled virtually the entire Central Africa.
Companies offer unique services to citizens of the region: replenishment of a mobile wallet and withdrawal of money, sending funds to anyone for a small percentage (most often one or two), payment of utility bills and various debts. Due to the mass nature of such products, residents literally store finances in their own devices, which means that their accounts are served by organizations controlled by Western countries.
And here lies another threat to the economic and digital sovereignty of African countries, namely, to change one “colonial ruler” for another.

Today, the United States and its closest allies are actively forming a global system of dominance in the global information space. Such a system is designed to solve a number of tasks:
penetration into the information space of other states to the detriment of their sovereignty and the collection of all necessary intelligence data;
further expansion of the technological gap and the creation in foreign countries of an information and communication infrastructure dependent on the United States with manageable reliability;
creation of technological bridgeheads for complex operations aimed at obtaining military, political and economic advantages, etc.

On the part of the United States, serious work is underway to transfer the legislative regulation of the national information security of other countries from the field of national law to international law, which, in the light of recent events, as we see, absolutely does not work.

Thus, the mechanisms used by the Council of Europe to improve the Council of Europe Convention on Combating Cybercrime (Budapest Convention – 2001) allow, first of all, the US special services to actually legalize their activities in the information space of most countries of the world. On the other hand, such an approach really blurs the boundaries of national digital sovereignty.

Within the framework of this project, UN units (under the influence of the United States, for example, through the UN ECOSOC Economic Commission) They are already developing pro-American fundamental international documents that promote subjective and unilateral approaches in the field of international information security.

Thus, the documents being developed contain articles and provisions that contribute to the deployment of the American digital dominance system. For example, the draft “African Union Convention on Computer Security and Personal Data Protection” contains provisions according to which it is possible to transfer personal data to certain third-party states (read, first of all, the United States and the NATO).

At the same time, the process of such transfer will be taken beyond the competence of national state structures responsible for information security issues. Moreover, the legislation of the United States itself already includes norms that allow American intelligence agencies to collect data in the global information space.

Moreover, the resources of large American corporations (Microsoft, Google, Meta, Cisco, etc.) are used primarily for this implementation. So, in April 2014, the New York Magistrate’s Court ordered American companies to freely disclose to the special services the personal information of foreign clients, including those stored on the territory of other states.

Currently, the US already has a strong position in the ITU. As a rule, ITU undertakes obligations to develop and implement computer security strategies at the national level, to ensure the security of technological progress, to organize interaction with international organizations in the field of information security (UNODC, the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization, Interpol, and the African Union) and the private sector.

As a perspective of ITU, the creation of a unified system of multi-level response to threats to information security at any (national, regional and international) level is announced.

In fact, ITU is a monopolist in this market of services, which cooperates on the condition that the interested party must adhere to the Budapest Convention, which is very beneficial to the United States. That is why the election of an American candidate for the post of ITU Secretary General and his support for the promotion of the Budapest Convention very significantly complements the efforts of the United States and Western countries to normalize the provisions they need with specific and specific technical protocols and mechanisms that will practically implement these provisions.

Alan Davidson, Director of the Department for the Development of Information and Telecommunication Technologies (National Telecommunication and Information Administration) of the US Department of Commerce, in early 2022, in a report to Congress, said that he would make sure that the United States could once again assert itself as a world leader in international forums, in the interests of promoting open digital innovations, which are always were a hallmark of the online ecosystem. He stressed that his immediate priority in the context of ITU would be the election of Doreen Bogdan-Martin as ITU Secretary General.

At the same time, the US State Department published on its official website a reasoned statement in support of the nomination of D. Bogdan-Martin: “Responsible, far-sighted, inclusive and transparent ITU leadership is vital for US telecommunications interests, as well as for US priorities in the field of defense, intelligence, economy, development and aeronautics.”

Thus, it can be assumed that the work of D. Bogdan-Martin as Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union will involve the formation of threats to the national interests, economic and digital sovereignty of African countries. With a high degree of confidence, it can be argued that the initiatives promoted by D. Bogdan-Martin will be aimed at creating a controlled and controlled information environment in the interests, first of all, of government agencies, the commercial sector and special services of the United States with the involvement of vulnerable or socially active groups and categories of citizens of the African continent, such as youth and residents of the least developed countries.

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