Cybercrime, a barrier to Africa’s thriving digital economy


Addis Ababa September 8, 2021 (ECA) – Cybercrime is one of the main risk factors that could put the African economy at risk, especially as the continent shifts to e-commerce under the Zone African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). This is what the panelists say during a Book Talk organized by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on September 2, 2021.

The “Book Talk” was jointly organized by the Knowledge Management Section of ECA and the Information and Communications Technology Services Section (ICTSS) in collaboration with the Communications Section under the theme “Dangers / risks of cybercrime for electronic commerce in Africa ”.

The panelists all agreed that cybercrime can be a barrier to a thriving digital economy in Africa and requires international, regional and private sector cooperation.

“Many national internet regulations are enforced without due regard for the global and universal nature of cyberspace, cybersecurity and its relevance to e-commerce,” said Almoustapha Cisse, head of ICTSS, adding that cybercrime has become a major problem in the world due to emerging technology and high internet penetration on the continent.

Mr Cissé said African governments should accept standard cybernorms and international laws for responsible state behavior in cyberspace.

Nnenna Ifeanyi-Ajufo, Senior Lecturer at Swansea University School of Law, UK, said that e-governance and e-commerce play a critical role in ensuring cybersecurity, and that the interface between Cyber ​​governance, cybersecurity and economic viability is one of the most complex policy challenges of today’s digital economy in Africa.

“Many national internet regulations are enforced without due regard for the global and universal nature of cyberspace, cybersecurity and its relevance to electronic commerce,” Ms. Ifeanyi-Ajufo said.

Ms Ifeanyi-Ajufo said: “It is important that African countries ratify the Malabo Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection to combat cybersecurity threats.”

The Malabo Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection, she noted, is one of the most elaborate conventions in the world on cybersecurity and therefore African countries would need to ratify it for it to be implemented. So far, only 10 African countries have ratified the Malabo agreement. For it to enter into force, at least 16 African countries would need to ratify it.

Ms Ifeanyi-Ajufo said that the measures implemented to ensure cybersecurity in Africa can stifle the continent’s flourishing digital economy through restrictive laws, unreasonable internet security standards that can suffocate businesses, deter businesses. foreign companies and affect consumers of digital services. However, simultaneous cybersecurity is essential to facilitate economic transactions over the Internet.

“To implement Internet security, a delicate balance must be struck between the security held by governments, businesses and Internet users,” Ms. Ifeanyi-Ajufo said.

Anand Ramaswamy, Legal Adviser to ICHIP, US Mission to the African Union, said Africa is the fastest growing region in the world for internet penetration and usage. mobile financial services, has become an increasingly attractive area for cybercriminals.

Law enforcement officers, prosecutors, magistrates and judges must fulfill their respective roles in increasingly complex environments, which require up-to-date skills and adequate tools, both technical and legal.

“To tackle the dangers and risks of cybercrime for e-commerce in Africa, countries need cybersecurity measures in place, laws, law enforcement and consumer protection,” Ramaswamy said.

Mactar Seck of ECA’s Division of Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources Management said cybercrime in Africa has increased due to increasing internet penetration. He said that between 2005 and 2020, internet growth in Africa was 10% and is expected to triple by 2025.

Mr Seck said ECA and its partners are working hard to promote e-commerce on the continent while helping countries create and implement cybersecurity laws and policies.

“Most African countries have cybersecurity policies, but operationalization is the problem. ECA contributes to capacity building, ”noted Mr. Seck.

Issued by:
Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
P.O. Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Phone. : +251 11 551 5826


UNECA – United Nations Economic Commission for Africa published this content on September 08, 2021 and is solely responsible for the information it contains. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on September 08, 2021 05:41:06 PM UTC.

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