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Egypt to host Huawei's first MENA cloud platform: Cairo

File photo: Huawei logo at a shopping mall in Shanghai, China. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Cairo, Egypt Feb 26, 2019, 09.24 PM (IST)

Egypt will host Chinese telecom company Huawei's first cloud data platform in the Middle East and North Africa, Egypt's telecom ministry said in a statement. 

"Huawei will create its own cloud computing through the data centre of Telecom Egypt", a statement by the ministry said Monday, referring to the North African country's state owned telecom company.

The two firms signed a memorandum of understanding to establish Huawei's "first cloud computing in Africa and the Middle East" on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the statement added.

Cloud computing technology is a means of storing and accessing data over the internet instead of on hardware devices. 

Huawei is a major seller of handsets in Egypt.

The firm is seeking to expand in Africa - including through surveillance technology, on a continent where personal data protection laws are less stringent than in Europe.

A report by four human rights groups last July said Egypt had acquired from France powerful digital surveillance tools under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who critics say has launched a wide-ranging crackdown against opponents.

The acquisitions had "helped establish an Orwellian surveillance and control architecture that is being used to eradicate all forms of dissent," said the report, authored by French and local groups, including the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies.  

Egypt's telecom ministry said the MoU with Huawei covers only "services to individuals and small and medium enterprises" and does not extend to governmental services.

In the last year, the United States has stepped up pressure on its allies to block Huawei from building 5G networks, alleging its technology could be exploited by China's government to carry out espionage -- a claim strongly denied by the telecom giant.