The new Chairperson of the African Union, Paul Kagame has downplayed allegations that China had hacked into the systems of the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa and has been spying on its activities since 2012.
Kagame said Africa should have built the facility if it did not want to be spied on. He added that the AU is not worried about being spied on because people have to know about every activity in the $200 million facility built by the Chinese government as a gift to Africa.
“I don’t worry about being spied on in AU headquarters. Nothing is done here that we don’t want people to know. Spies are all over the world, not just Chinese. Only thing is that Africa should have been able to build the headquarters themselves,” he said at a joint press conference on Monday with AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat and the AU Information and Communication Secretary.
“I would be happy if we had money to build this house, but even then, if you bring people to build for you, they may still spy on you,” Kagame added while expressing concern that people may want “to put the Chinese who built the house in bad light.”
AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said he has never seen any issue in the building where he works on a daily basis.
China denied claims that it spied on the African Union headquarters which it described as “absurd” and “preposterous”.
Chinese ambassador to the African Union, Kuang Weilin told the media in Addis Ababa on Monday that “it is very difficult to understand the claims” and it was entirely untrue.
French media Le Monde Afrique published a report last Saturday revealing that in the past five years, data from the AU servers in Ethiopia were transferred to servers in Shanghai at odd hours.
Anonymous sources told the newspaper that the discovery in January 2017 resulted in the change of servers while security experts from Algeria who checked the entire building found microphones installed in desks.