According to Mohammed Soliman
One of China's leading tools of geostrategic influence is Beijing's use of technology and innovation policies, such as Huawei hardware and technology training at Chinese universities. China's geotech influence is almost unprecedented and aims to position China as a significant player in global geopolitics without resorting to traditional military expansionism. Rather, Beijing is creating a geotech niche through its active 5G diplomacy, technology infrastructure and education.
Under these circumstances, longtime allies of the US and Europe are not necessarily caught in Beijing’s technology and cyber trap, but there is a growing mistrust among them, for example, of US technology and Washington’s credibility as a guarantor of security, which is pushing these countries to pursue policies focused on cyber sovereignty. This new policy aims to build its own domestic cyber and technology capability independent of Washington.
To prepare for a post-oil future, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt — the three largest economies in the Arab world — have been hard at work implementing large-scale digital transformation. At the same time, they actively attract multinational technology companies, develop high-tech smart cities and invest in their human capital.
And China is taking advantage of the emerging market conditions. Over the past twenty years, the same Huawei has gone from a low-cost information and communications technology (ICT) provider to a fully integrated technology partner for many US allies such as Egypt, Morocco, and the Gulf states. For its part, the Washington administration is pursuing an aggressive strategy to dissuade its Western allies from allowing Huawei to build 5G networks in the region. In 2020, Washington launched the Clean Network Initiative (CNI), in which many European countries committed to ban cooperation with Huawei. For example, Israel excluded Huawei from its 5G network; France has banned telecom operators from renewing their licenses for Huawei 5G equipment, which effectively means that Huawei will no longer participate in French 5G networks by 2028. London has also banned Huawei from the United Kingdom's 5G network and will remove existing Huawei equipment by 2027.
However, the future has not yet been determined, and its foundations are being laid right now, through the introduction of new technologies and security standards.