Businessman and former ICT minister, Supa Mandiwanzira has said Africa should build its own telecommunications infrastructure and service offerings if it is to own and control its own narrative.
Mandiwanzira made the remarks at the 5th edition of the WION global summit on Monday in Dubai, one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates.
“The Internet did not develop from Africa. It did not develop from Zimbabwe (either). It’s from outside the African continent and as a result we have no control over the infrastructure, we have no control over the companies that are involved in providing content,” Mandiwanzira said.
He was speaking in reference to the blockade of networks that do not conform to the western narrative in the current Russia /Ukraine conflict.
“They say the first casualty of war is the truth. I think that the adage should change to the first casualty of war is the internet because in Africa we had access to an alternative voice through You Tube, through satellite television which is Russia Today. But, because the narrative wasn’t the one preferred by the businesses in North America and Europe , we were cut off from Russia Today.
So we actually don’t know the other side of the story. We only know one side of the story,” he said.
Speaking at the same conference, the former director of digital transformation, Abu Dhabi police, Barakat Alkindi said :“ The UAE invested in digital transformation and this was really a big asset for us to be ahead in offering all our services online for our UAE residents to benefit from it.
“But this asset needs to be protected from whatever attacks from cyber crimes so there is a strong strategy that enables us to elaborate our capability”, Alkindi said.
There has been renewed attention on strengthening cyber security with statistics showing that there was a 300% increase in cybercrime during the pandemic while malicious emails increased by 600%.
The President of the UN General Assembly Abdulla Shahid, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and former US Deputy secretary Homeland, Jane Holl Lute also presented papers at the conference.