Madam Ama Pomaa Boateng, Deputy Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, says cybersecurity plays a crucial role in accelerating Africa’s economic growth and development.
She has therefore urged stakeholders of the cyber ecosystem to leverage on emerging technologies through cybersecurity for the socio-economic benefit of all Africans.
The Deputy Minister made the comments at the opening ceremony of the maiden meeting of the African Union (AU) – Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE) Africa Cyber Experts (ACE) Community, in Accra.
The three-day event is being attended by 65 participants from 31 African Countries.
It is on the theme: “Setting the Scene for Cybersecurity Status in Africa.”
Madam Boateng said according to a publication by the Council on Foreign Relations, as of June 2019, Africa had more than 500 million Internet users, placing the region ahead of other regions such as North America, South America, and the Middle East.
She said the e-Conomy Africa 2020 report, also found out that Africa’s Internet economy had the potential to reach $180 billion by 2025, accounting for 5.2 per cent of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The Deputy Minister said safety and security were key requirements to sustain the gains made in internet connectivity and digitalisation.
She said reports further indicated that cybercrime reduced the GDP of African countries by more than 10 per cent, an amount estimated to $4.12 billion in 2021 – a development which was very worrying.
Madam Boateng said the 46th Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy 2018 indicated that, of a population of about 1.24 billion people in Africa, the estimated number of certified cybersecurity professionals in 2018 was 7,000, representing one for every 177,000 people.
She said this meant that Africa was lacking the requisite talent and resources to deal with its cybersecurity threats and development issues.
The Deputy Minister lauded participants for their commitments thus far and urged them to strengthen the cybersecurity landscape in Africa through collaboration and capacity building.
“As you continue with deliberations today, I urge you to open up, by sharing ideas and information on the situation in your countries; what is being done, and how we can work together to support cybersecurity development on the continent.”
“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, collaboration with various actors in the global cybersecurity ecosystem is crucial and there is no doubt that diverse views, expertise and datasets can help model effective policies and operational responses to cybercrimes on the continent,” she said.