Mbabane: The Government of Eswatini has dismissed the reports on pulling out of the United States of America’s clean network campaign.
This comes after an online publication, South China Morning Post, reported on Saturday, January 30, 2021 that Eswatini has backed out of its plan to join the US’ anti-China ‘Clean Network’ campaign. This publication said the country withdrew from the joint statement signed with the US ‘due to legitimacy issues surrounding the approval process of the document.’
The Joint statement was signed by Eswatini’s acting minister of information, communications and technology (ICT), Manqoba Khumalo, and then-US under-secretary of State Keith Krach on January 16, 2021 where the two states agreed “on the importance of securing telecommunications infrastructure and ensuring safe technology supply chains based on internationally accepted digital trust standards”.
When sought for comments, the Acting Minister of ICT Manqoba Khumalo simply said this were fake news. Khumalo told this reporter to contact Sabelo Dlamini, the Government’s Spokesperson for he was the one with the government’s official response.
Sabelo Dlamini confirmed that indeed it was fake news. He said the government has not withdrawn from the joint statement.
Eswatini is the first African country to join the Clean Network which is a United States initiative aimed at improving digital security, including on the controversial 5G.
Speaking during the signing of the joint statement, Minister Khumalo stated that it was critical that the data traveling across Eswatini’s digital infrastructure is safe. He said the Clean Network provides a trusted foundation for countries and companies to ensure the security of their most sensitive information. He said Eswatini was proud to be a member of the Clean Network.
Under Secretary of State Krach said signing of this campaign marked an important milestone as America expand the Clean Network into Africa. Eswatini’s leadership as the first African country to join the Clean Network paves the way for expanded U.S. private sector investment and strengthens the joint security of like-minded partners in the region and around the world.
According to the official website of the United States government, the Clean Network program is the Trump Administration’s comprehensive approach to safeguarding the nation’s assets including citizens’ privacy and companies’ most sensitive information from aggressive intrusions by malign actors, such as the Chinese Communist Party.
The Clean Network addresses the long-term threat to data privacy, security, human rights and principled collaboration posed to the free world from authoritarian malign actors. The Clean Network is rooted in internationally accepted digital trust standards. It represents the execution of a multi-year, all-of-government, enduring strategy, built on a coalition of trusted partners, and based on rapidly changing technology and economics of global markets.
According to the U.S many countries are choosing to allow only trusted vendors in their 5G networks. Examples include the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Poland, Sweden, Estonia, Romania, Denmark, and Latvia.