Some believe that big tech offers developing economies a global platform. But others say ceding control of data and markets to the west could cripple societies

African countries should be nervous about the big technology companies sweeping through their economies, knocking out established businesses and crushing startups before they have had a chance to blossom.

That’s the message from the anti-poverty charity Global Justice Now in a report that warns of an “e-pocalypse” across the southern hemisphere, as western firms keen to sell sophisticated digital services use their muscle to outmanoeuvre local businesses in poorer nations. Africa is seen as particularly vulnerable after decades of underinvestment that has left many countries with seemingly little option but to accept the terms laid down by the tech giants.

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