Surveillance: the ultra-secure phones of Africa’s presidents

In depth
This article is part of the dossier: Cyber surveillance: a new market, with old clients

By Mathieu Olivier

Posted on Monday, 3 February 2020 10:59, updated on Wednesday, 21 July 2021 22:31
Security of communications is a key concern for African leaders, like South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Well aware of the surveillance capabilities of major companies in the sector, Africa’s heads of state try to make their phones as secure as Fort Knox. Every leader is geared up and takes extra precautions to prevent the ever-looming risk of being tapped. We take a look at the phones used by Africa’s presidents and politicians’ practices.

This is part 2 of a 4-part series.

In West Africa, some leaders have been won over by French technologies.

French presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande used a Teorem, an ultra-secure clamshell phone with physical buttons created by Thales. However, using it requires a certain amount of patience, and Sarkozy hated it for that reason.

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