On June 10, 2020, reports emerged that Madagascar’s Senate had approved a $42.7 million deal with Huawei to modernize the country’s public telecommunications infrastructure. The project is to be financed, at least in part, by the Export-Import Bank of China. Per reports, Huawei’s upgrades are intended enhance Madagascar’s public sector operations by implementing a wide array of IT and telecommunication platforms, including surveillance cameras, the installation of fiber optics cables, new datacenters and email services, and new videoconferencing capabilities.
The Huawei deal seems to build on a December 2019 agreement between the Chinese and Madagascan government that confirmed China’s participation in the country’s overhaul of the public telecommunications network. Madagascar’s upgrade initiative reportedly focuses on the creation of a completely new network infrastructure intended to modernize public services and improve the island nation’s investment climate.
Huawei solutions implemented elsewhere in Africa have been accused of enabling political leaders to assist in the espionage of political opponents and dissidents, stifling democracy. The company, however, currently dominates the African telecommunications market, and, in Madagascar, Huawei has previously been engaged in other network infrastructure projects.