Once upon a time when it seemed Africa became a bit distrustful of Europe, a few countries from the continent thought that it might be fine to turn elsewhere. Some, like Zimbabwe turned to China, thinking that the grass would be greener elsewhere.
The result is that China has not particularly fared badly for herself, what with huge contracts in her kitty.
It will be recalled that the Chinese built the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which opened in 2012. The complex was to house and host continental meetings and the biannual heads of state summit.
It now appears that the Chinese interest did not end with constructing the AU headquarters. An investigation conducted by French media Le Monde Afrique has shown that in the past five years, data from the AU Servers in Ethiopia were transferred to servers in Shanghai at odd hours.
“In January 2017, the AU’s technical staff discovered that its servers were strangely active with a peak in data transfer between midnight and 2 am when it’s offices were empty. A computer scientist found that there was a massive transfer of internal data of the AU,” the report said.
Each night, the secrets of the institution were stored more than 8,000 km away from Addis Ababa on mysterious and strange servers hosted somewhere in Shanghai, the report added citing unnamed internal sources.
The Chinese were also accused of opening a window in the computer system of the $200 million-facility which they installed. The breach is thought to be “intentional” to allow intelligence agencies and hackers to have illegal access to information.An undisclosed AU official told the French media that they have now strengthened the building’s cybersecurity by inspecting the entire facility and changing the servers, microphones and other technologies installed by the Chinese.
The Chinese ambassador to the AU, Kuang Weilin, spoke to reporters in Ethiopia. He described the claims by Le Monde Afrique as ''absurd and very difficult to understand.''