African Union to crack down on Cybercrime
African Union is looking for solutions to implement cyber security in Africa amid a growing urgency to counter cybercrime on the back of the NSA spying scandal. (Image: cyberarms.wordpress.com)
2014 will witness African Union heads of state brainstorming on cybercrime, at a summit centering on ways to vote on a draft cyber security convention to protect their nations from cyber attacks on institutions and protect people from cybercrime.
Next month, Ethiopia will welcome the African Union for the Draft Convention on the Confidence and Security in Cyberspace where a discussion on setting a common cyber security framework for the continent will take place.
Robert Njathika, a researcher at Strathmore Law School’s Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law in Kenya, said that the urgency to improve the African cyber security is due to the US National Security Agency (NSA) scandal and the revelations about Internet-based international spying.
According to Njathika, policy makers are more motivated to implement a better online protection because of the NSA scandal and Edward Snowden revelations.
He added that, as Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta needs to attend his trial at The Hague, the vote could be delayed once more.
Further, the implementation is being postponed due to a lack of cyber security experts across Africa.
Another difficulty is that there is not enough consultation with defence ministries while drafting the convention which includes sections on electronic commerce, personal data protection, and cybercrime related to racism, xenophobia and child pornography, and national cyber security.
The CEO of New Horizon Nigeria, Tim Akano feels that the convention is a good step which is on the right track and African leaders need reasonable political determination and an understanding of issues involved in cyber security.
Akano also stated that in the new world of globalization, there has been a paradigm shift which older leaders do not appreciate.
Even if Africa has IT professionals, it lacks well-trained cyber security experts. For instance, the level of understanding and education in cyber security issues among Nigerian law-enforcement agents are not up to the standard required for a country with 180 million people.
According to Njathika, Egypt could train experts in cyber security because the country is considered the leader in cyber security in the region with years of experience in teaching cyber security experts from other African countries.