Africa commits to Lomé Declaration on Cybersecurity
Governments representing 28 countries across Africa have committed to the advancement of a healthy and prosperous cyberspace at the closing of a two-day cybersecurity summit in Lomé organised by the government of Togo and UNECA (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa).
Delegates committed to the Lomé Declaration on Cybersecurity and the Fight Against Cybercriminality, which means that they will collaborate “to develop cybersecurity strategies and policies relevant to sensitisation of the masses and training of IT security personnel.”
Going forward, they also want to see broad-based consultation in the elaboration of public policies.
In addition, participants agreed to push through the signature and ratification of the African Union (Malabo) Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection - which seeks to enable the development of a safe African cyberspace.
Strengthened cybersecurity is one objective, another is to give investors in Africa confidence, accelerate digital transformation and boost the adoption of digital solutions.
To this end, plans are in place to implement a legal and regulatory framework specific to cybersecurity, regulatory bodies and the fight against cybercrime.
The Lomé Declaration also holds promise of strengthening African cooperation by supporting the creation of sub-regional bodies for mutual assistance in the field of cybersecurity and the fight against cybercrime.
Togo President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé said there was a need for cooperation and coordination in the response to the continent’s cybersecurity issues. “Cybersecurity is one of the major challenges of our time.”
The cyberspace in Africa offers both costs and opportunities. While the continent’s burgeoning digital economy is expected to be valued at US$180-billion by 2025 - 5.02% of Africa’s GDP – up from US$2.54-billion in 2020, cybercrime cost Africa 10% (US$4.12-billion) of its GDP in 2021.
According to the 2021 Interpol report, online scams, digital extortion, business e-mail compromise, ransomware and botnets are the major threats to the continent.