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The digital economy of Africa has predicted to add US$180bn to the continent’s overall economy by 2025, increasing to US$712bn by 2050

The African government and their stakeholders are developing new strategies to:

* Connect approximately 700 million Africans sans internet

* Tackle speed and affordability concerns for those who already have it.

But cybercrimes are rapidly increasing, threatening both economies and individual safety. What is cybersecurity and how can cybersecurity professionals safely drive progress in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Africa’s Cybersecurity Gap

Africa’s cybersecurity challenges differ significantly from those faced by other countries. There are many factors that make Africa more vulnerable than other regions. Cybercriminals are taking full advantage of the situation.

While technical cybersecurity attacks are on the increase, there are three main issues maintaining SSA’s exposure to cyber threats:

* A lack of awareness and limited technical training to implement effective security measures.

* Insufficient certified cybersecurity specialists – reportedly a 100,000-person gap.

* The majority of African governments have not kept up with the fast evolution of cybercrime. 

A step in the right direction

Regional partnerships are collaborating to strengthen their cybersecurity capabilities by:

* Establishing a strategic cybersecurity policies framework

* Improving the members’ level of national mechanisms for cybersecurity

* Increasing coordination between all stakeholders

* Developing confidence in the surety of information and communication technologies (ICT).

Accelerating the gains

Government in the region should prioritise cybersecurity and take the necessary steps to strengthen their digital defenses to address the growing threat posed by online attacks:

* Invest more money in global strategic engagements, enhanced infrastructure, and awareness-raising efforts related to cybersecurity.

* Deal with the concerns and/or misgivings raised by the few nations that have ratified international agreements on digital policy.

From both a technical and policy standpoint, give priority to boosting cybersecurity capacity.

* Keep working together to share best practices and facilitate peer learning with credible external stakeholders. (From the continent, both Tanzania and Mauritius are highly ranked on the ITU’s Global Cybersecurity Index of 2020. Their commitment, policies, and execution of cyber-resilience are exemplary.


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