(Ecofin Agency) - From only nine in 2018, 15 African countries are now presented as cyber-secure. However, the number of nations completely vulnerable to intrusions and other cyber-attacks remains high.
Last year, We Are Social and Hootsuite estimated the penetration rate of mobile connectivity on the continent at 34%, up 10% compared to 2019. However, the 453.2 million mobile internet users counted in the Digital Report 2020, whose internet consumption habits have changed with the Covid-19, buy, entertain, chat, work, in a digital environment highly exposed to cyber threats. The continent's level of cyber insecurity is still very high.
In its Global Cybersecurity Index 2020, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) identified only 29 African countries with data protection legislation; 23 have a national cybersecurity strategy; 19 have a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT). Only 31 have legislation on network hacking; 17 have legislation on online harassment; only 6 have a cybersecurity skills development mechanism; 12 have bilateral cybersecurity agreements versus 19 for multilateral agreements; 29 are engaged in international cybersecurity activities.
Only 15 African countries have a level of cybersecurity preparedness above the global average. Mauritius remains the leader on the continent since 2014, ahead of Egypt. Tanzania, which was 8th in 2018, is now 3rd.
About twenty countries on the continent still have a basic cybersecurity level. They include DR Congo, Burundi, Equatorial Guinea, and Djibouti (which is already connected to more than eight submarine fiber optic systems).
ITU expressed concern about the low level of cybersecurity preparedness on the continent at a time when cyber threats are growing. According to Verified Market Research, the Middle East and Africa cybersecurity market which was valued at $5.92 billion in 2018 is expected to reach $17.30 billion by 2026. Companies like Orange Cyberdefense, which have understood the network security issues behind the digital revolution, are already positioning themselves accordingly on the continent.
"Need for a safe and secure cyberspace has become more important than ever, especially as we all grow increasingly dependent on “digital lifelines,” said Doreen Bogdan Martin, the director of the ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Google estimate in their joint report "e-Conomy Africa 2020" that with the development of the Internet and digital services since 2000, the digital sector could generate $180 billion in revenue for the African economy by 2025 and $712 billion by 2050. But the poor reliability of African digital platforms, if it continues, could derail everything.